Florida could lift 30-year ban on catching goliath grouper

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.

Florida could lift 30-year ban on catching goliath grouper

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).

According to Amanda Nalley, spokesperson for the agency, the proposal is still tentative and will not be finalized until March 2022. Meanwhile, the agency continues to gather public comment, which people can submit at myfwc.com/saltwatercomments, she said.

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.

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