Florida is now Considering, Allowing a Limited Harvest of Goliath Grouper
Soon you may be able to catch the monster-sized fish. Florida is considering lifting its three-decade ban on catching and keeping goliath grouper.
State of Florida Wildlife officials say the coastal fish’s numbers have recovered sufficiently from near-extinction to allow a limited harvest, however the proposal is strongly opposed by environmentalists who say the species, is still at risk.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider a staff proposal to allow 100 goliaths to be caught and kept annually during a four-year period. Supported by fishing groups, the proposal calls for a lottery to issue $300-per-week licenses that allow each recipient to catch and kill one goliath, with proceeds funding research of the species.
The goliath grouper almost died off in the 1980s from overfishing and pollution and is not allowed to be caught in any other state or federal waters.
Florida’s proposal would prohibit catching the fish at spawning sites and during spawning season, which lasts from July to September.
The FWC staff proposal limits the size of goliaths that could be kept to a range of 4 to 6.5 feet (1.2 to 2 meters) and 70 to 200 pounds (32 to 90 kilograms) — that’s a young adult of 7 to 10 years. Outside that range they would be released, just like all goliaths caught now are supposed to be, though poaching is a problem. Goliaths have a lifespan of 35 years or more.
Learn more about the Goliath Grouper, from the FWC here: https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/goliath/