Published: Feb 25, 2011 5:56 PM EST
Updated: Feb 25, 2011 2:56 PM EST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Organizers say thousands of commercial and recreational fishermen are expected to rally in St. Petersburg against a federal ban on grouper fishing.

The Fishing Rights Alliance has planned the rally for 9 a.m. Friday at the south regional headquarters of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The group says it is calling for congressional action to protect fishermen from what they call unnecessary regulations. It claims the six-month grouper ban will cost economies of the U.S. southeast billions in lost revenue.

The federal agency charged with managing fisheries says the ban is necessary to bolster the population of the gag grouper, which is valued for its white, flaky meat.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)