The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is advancing a plan to lift a three-decades-old ban on catching and killing goliath groupers in Florida waters.
- Any issues or changes will be addressed at meetings expected to conclude by March 2022.
Details: The new rules would open a 3-month season and issue 200 one-fish permits via lottery. Only goliaths between 20 and 36 inches could be kept.
Context: The largest grouper in the Atlantic, which mostly lives off reefs in South Florida, can grow to be 8 feet long and weigh 800 pounds — so big they can eat a four-foot shark in one bite.
Why it matters: Goliath grouper were delisted as a "species of special concern" by NOAA in 2006 and the FWC says groupers have continued to increase in abundance since the fishery was closed in 1990.
- "For a variety of reasons, some fishermen want harvest to be allowed, including desires for reduced interactions with goliath while fishing, opportunities to harvest a very large fish, and belief that harvest access should not be restricted indefinitely," FWC said in a statement.
Yes, but: While most scientists agree the species is recovering, some say populations are not yet where they should be.
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