Florida fishing captains say it’s time to lift the long-standing fishing ban on goliath grouper before it’s too late.
Goliath grouper are becoming a nuisance to some of southwest Florida’s fishing captains. The once threatened species have rebounded and now they’re gobbling up other fish at a rapid pace.
Fishing captains and anglers are asking the state to loosen goliath grouper restrictions to bring balance to their industry and southwest Florida’s coastal fisheries.
This video from WVZN has more of the story.
- Goliath Grouper Steals Shark from Angler
- Goliath Grouper Attacks Spearfisherman and Eats His Catch
- Watch a Goliath Grouper Snap a Custom Rod
The federal government and the state of Florida enacted strict goliath grouper fishing regulations in the early 1990s after the species was nearly fished to extinction. At first, anglers were not allowed to target the species at all. Now, anglers can target goliath groupers, but they can’t boat or kill them.
The tough regulations have worked, and the species have made a strong comeback. But now, Florida fishermen say there are too many.
“The populations just exploded since there’s nothing keeping it in check,” Florida angler Mike Kepler told ABC-7. “To me, I think if we can keep one per boat trip we could maybe catch up to it, and keep the population in check before it gets out of hand.”
Florida boat captains recently brought their concerns before the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) at a meeting in Kissimmee. The FWC and other state wildlife agencies will consider lifting the ban, but changes may not take effect until next September.
Loosening goliath grouper regulations could bring balance to Florida’s offshore fisheries and help boost the state’s economy. Guides could get more business by allowing one grouper catch per trip. Also, grouper are also commercially viable seafood, as they have rich and flavorful meat.
What do you think about loosening goliath grouper regulations? Is it sustainable? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.