Found from North Carolina to the Campeche Banks in the Gulf of Mexico, scamp grouper is related to gag and other slender-bodied groupers. Often considered the best-tasting of the groupers, scamp is harvested commercially in the reef fish fishery, mainly offshore in federal waters. Most commercial fishermen target red, gag, and black grouper and capture other shallow-water groupers such as scamp incidentally. Although they don’t fight very hard, scamp grouper are also a favorite among recreational fishermen for their delicious white meat.
Federal authorities including NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council are responsible for monitoring and managing reef fish like scamp grouper. Any applicable state management measures are fairly consistent with federal measures — some states automatically adopt federal regulations; others have separate regulations. Gulf state and federal enforcement agents partner to enforce fisheries laws and regulations. The Gulf states also help collect data on commercial and recreational fisheries for scamp grouper, providing important information to support management of this valuable resource.
The status of the scamp population in the Gulf is currently unknown, although it is scheduled to be assessed in 2014. For more information about scamp grouper, see the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site.