Anglers United in Victory: The Grouper Regulation Turnaround

In an unexpected twist to the ongoing saga of fishing regulations, the Grouper regulation debate has taken a significant turn, thanks to the collective action of the angling community. The initial uproar began with the proposed regulations for Gag grouper, spurred by data that many found questionable, particularly, the reported catches from areas like the Skyway Bridge. This led to widespread concern among anglers, echoed loudly across social media platforms.

Goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara). Two big fishes met

In a recent dialogue, Joe Simonds, Co-Founder of Salt Strong Fishing Club, and Captain Dylan Hubbard, VP and Co-Owner of Hubbard’s Marina in Madeira Beach, Florida, shed light on the power of the angling community’s voice and the positive changes that have emerged from their collective efforts.

Historically, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries have faced criticism for their handling of fishing regulations – notably a 2021 stock assessment using data up to 2019, to manage gag grouper catches. This delay in updating data has led to restrictions based on conditions that may no longer reflect the current health of the gag grouper population.

In an unprecedented rallying from the recreational fishing community, to not only voice their opinions on social media but to take formal action by attending meetings and submitting comments through the proper channels whereas, reporting a noticeable increase in gag grouper numbers, which contradicted the assessments suggesting overfishing, the previously feared restrictions based on questionable data were reconsidered to a reevaluation of the proposed regulations.

This victory serves as a testament to the importance of anglers’ participation in the regulatory process. By engaging directly with fishery management bodies, submitting formal comments, and staying informed through reputable sources, the community has proven that it can influence positive change in fishing regulations.

This article was created from Episode #559 – The Truth About Gag Grouper Regulations,

The Salt Strong Fishing Club is an inspiration for in-shore saltwater anglers seeking not just to enhance their fishing success but also to foster a sense of unity and advocacy within the fishing community.  Salt Strong Chapters are located from Texas to Florida to the Carolinas and offer Club Members the opportunity to Meet Local Anglers, Learn from Informative Speakers, Participate in Fun Tournaments, and Win Awesome Giveaways. Go to to Learn More.

Creator: Tatiana Mironenko | Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto