Feds Consider New Limits On Hogfish

Jun 29, 2016

  Hogfish, an orange fish in the wrasse family, may be ugly but they're increasingly popular in the Florida Keys.

That's especially true for people who spearfish, like Lea Moeller of Key West.

"It's one of the only fish that's slow enough for me to shoot," Moeller said. "But it's also delicious."

The number of hogfish caught in federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean last year increased so sharply that the recreational season was closed in August for the first time ever.

Fishing for hogfish started again in January. For now, each person is allowed to catch up to five hogfish a day,  and each fish has to be at least 12 inches long.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is considering changing its management plan for the species. Preferred alternatives would limit the catch to one per person per day and increase the size limit to 16 inches. And the season would run for only four months, from July through October.

The public has until Aug. 1 to comment on the draft environmental impact statement that would be the basis for new regulations.