Grouper Limits

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A fishery panel has voted to end long-line commercial grouper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico within 80 miles of the Florida coast to help the recovery of the red grouper.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved the policy Thursday. This policy must meet with approval from federal agencies.

The new regulation requires longliners to fish in deeper water beyond 300 feet. The existing requirement is 120 feet. The changes are intended to reduce the catch of the Gulf's red grouper by 45 percent.

The council has also lifted a month long seasonal ban against commercial grouper fishing. Other changes approved by the council include changing the minimum size of keeper fish from 20 inches to 22 inches.

In addition, recreational fishermen will be limited to two red grouper per person per trip.