Grouper Restrictions

By  | 

U.S. regulators plan to halt commercial grouper fishing in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico for the rest of the year because a quota is about to be reached.

Seafood dealers say grouper still will be available at fish markets and restaurants. But it will take longer to deliver from the Atlantic Ocean or Mexico and it might cost more.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's temporary ban starts Monday and ends January first. The annual quotas were adopted earlier this year to try to boost what scientists say are over fished grouper populations.

Recreational fishermen still can catch red grouper, but they can keep only two fish per trip compared with five under previous rules. Commercial fishermen say that is unfair.

Commercial fishermen face more hard times after this year's hurricanes kept them ashore for as much as six weeks.