TALLAHASSEE (Fla.) - Florida's wildlife agency proposes to lift the three-decade-old ban on catching or killing goliath groupers. The agency claims that the species' numbers are rebounding.
On Wednesday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved an initial proposal to allow recreational fishing of 200 goliaths every year from March through May. South Florida and Florida Keys will not be allowed to harvest the goliaths. The catch size will be limited to 20 inches (51 cm) and 36 inches (91.1 cm).
Fishing groups support the proposal and call for a lottery to grant licenses to each recipient that allows them to catch and kill one giant.
Overfishing and pollution caused the goliath to almost die in the 1980s. It is now prohibited from being caught in any state or federal waters. Similar proposals are being considered for several years.
Critics of lifting the ban on fishing argue that fish numbers are still below historical levels and seem to be declining or plateauing. They also claim that the species is susceptible to mass deaths.