St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather

printer version


Red grouper seem to be on upswing

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Editor
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 19, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- Red grouper stocks are in better shape than first thought, and federal fishery managers might scale back proposed recreational and commercial restrictions.

"There have been some good recruitment years since the last stock assessment," said Roy Crabtree, the new administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service southeast region. "So we are going to take another look at it."

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council proposed increasing the size limit from 20 inches to 22 for recreational and commercial fishermen.

The council also considered moving the commercial long-line fishery from 20 fathoms to 50.

But those measures might not be needed, Crabtree said Friday after returning from a council meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

"It looks now like we may be able to address the commercial issue with a trip limit," he said. "And as far as the recreational sector goes, we may reduce the bag limit for red grouper to two fish."

The overall recreational grouper limit, however, would remain at five (two of which may be red).

But the management of reef fish will be just one of the pressing issues facing Crabtree this week when he returns to St. Petersburg after a brief stint as executive director of the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission.

Crabtree, 48, is well-known to local fishermen because of his work with tarpon while a biologist with the Florida Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

A native of Chapel Hill, N.C., Crabtree earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Furman in 1976, a masters degree in marine science from South Carolina in 1978 and a doctorate in marine science from William and Mary in 1984.

SEA GRASS INCREASE: Tampa Bay has gained more than 1,200 acres of sea grass since the El Nino of 1997-98 destroyed nearly 2,000 acres of the vital fisheries habitat.

According to data compiled by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, the amount of sea grass in Tampa Bay increased by 5 percent, with the greatest gains in Hillsborough Bay, where 288 new acres was documented.

The last El Nino dumped record rainfall, and the subsequent nutrient-rich runoff turned parts of Tampa Bay into virtual freshwater lakes, killing large tracks of sea grass.

Scientists are pleased with the recent numbers but said another 640 acres, about 1 square mile, of sea grass must come back to reach pre-El Nino numbers.

The Tampa Bay Estuary program hopes to restore 12,000 acres baywide. From 1984-96, before El Nino, more than 5,000 acres of sea grass were added.

For more information, go to KINGFISH TOURNAMENT: Clearwater might host the West Coast's largest kingfish tournament this spring.

Clearwater restaurateur Frank Chivas has joined forces with the Southern Kingfish Association and Treasure Island Charities to put on the area's first 400-boat kingfish tournament, the Tournament of Champions.

Jack Holmes, the SKA's chief executive officer, met with Chivas, Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst and the charity's Jon Willis and Sid Rice to discuss the $180,000-plus event.

Chivas hopes to hold a Corporate Cup, or a tournament within a tournament, and raise additional money for charity at the April 25-27 event.

For more information, keep an eye on these Web sites: and

Back to Sports
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy
Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright

From the Times sports desk

  • Smack is back
  • Tonight's game
  • Underappreciated Titans have been here before
  • Jaguars' GM pick stays in Baltimore

  • Tennis
  • Venus overcomes 33 errors to advance to quarterfinal

  • Season on the bubble
  • No. 13 Creighton 85, SIU 76

  • College football
  • Walton TD caps North win

  • In brief
  • Kwan near perfect in winning 7th U.S. title

  • NHL
  • Slapshots
  • Maple Leafs spoil Julien's debut in Montreal

  • College basketball
  • Gator focus on win, not UT mystique
  • USF holds off rally to upset Memphis
  • UConn reaches record of 55 straight wins
  • Top 25: Terps take out Devils again
  • Florida escapes South Carolina with win
  • Wolfpack keeps 'Noles winless in conference
  • St. John's rallies from 16 down

  • Autos
  • Fans, drivers get close for charity

  • NBA
  • Magic puts Hill on injured list

  • Golf
  • Baddeley extends lead to 2

  • Preps
  • Late win a building block for Jesuit
  • Hernando wins Springstead title
  • Brandon dominates Gainesville tournament
  • Cowboys, Tigers suffer losses
  • Packers knock off top-ranked team
  • A new level of PCAC dominance

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Red grouper seem to be on upswing

  • Rays
  • Rays wait to expand roster on the cheap

  • Bucs
  • The clock is ticking
  • Bucs defense fears no power
  • McNabb makes wins his duty
  • Even keel disguises Reid's passion for game
  • Familiarity breeds success for offensive line
  • Sideline
  • Little to love, but Vet was home
  • Chucky's chalk talk
  • What they're saying
  • We predict
  • Guest column: Revamped Bucs pose new threat
  • Ditka rates '85 Bears defense vs. 2002 Bucs
  • Trail of tears
  • Kickin' back: Legend smiles on today's Bucs
  • TV crew sees a different Bucs
  • Jurevicius joins Bucs, will play
  • Letters: Bucs chat
  • Gary Shelton: Bucs can take it or leave it
  • John Romano: Gimme five!
  • Hubert Mizell: Today it's okay to root, root for the home team

  • Lightning
  • Tampa Bay finds itself just average
  • Even on ice, fever present
  • Past vs. Senators looming

  • From the wire

    From the state sports wire
  • Jacksonville's Spicer placed on IR after leg surgery
  • FIU-Western Kentucky game postponed because of Jeanne
  • Brown anxious to face old team for first time
  • Dolphins' desperate defense readies for Roethlisberger
  • Former Sarasota lineman sheds tough-guy image with Michigan
  • Rothstein rejoins Heat as assistant
  • No. 16 Florida has history on its side against Kentucky
  • FSU and Clemson QBs both off to slow starts