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FWC continues ongoing goliath grouper efforts

At its May meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) listened to a presentation and stakeholder input on goliath grouper in Florida state waters.

The Commission directed staff to continue ongoing efforts that recognize goliath’s role in the ecosystem and promote stock rebuilding while allowing access to goliath through catch-and-release, ecotourism and dive viewing opportunities.

They also directed staff to develop a proposed draft rule for consideration by the Commission at a future meeting that would build on existing access opportunities for goliath by considering a limited, highly regulated harvest.

“We should applaud our successes,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “I’m in favor of coming back with a very delineated list of line items for a limited take that wouldn’t disturb the dive industry and would provide additional access to this fishery. Just because we’ve been doing something for 30 years doesn’t mean we need to keep doing it the same way.”

“I’m not suggesting we do this at the end of the day but I am saying we should direct staff today to move forward, continue to gather input on this and see if we can’t come up with a win-win for all stakeholder groups,” said FWC Commissioner Robert Spottswood.

The FWC will continue to monitor the status of the stock using alternative metrics approved by the Commission in 2018.

Learn more about goliath grouper at MyFWC.com/Marine by clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Goliath Grouper” under the “Reef Fish” tab.

View the Commission meeting presentation at MyFWC.com/Commission by clicking on “Commission Meetings” and the agenda under “May 12-13, 2021.”