The video shows Shepard struggling with the groupers, one of which grabs onto the fisherman's catch and briefly drags him along with it. Experts said the groupers -- which can live for up to 50 years and grow to up to 8 feet long and 800 pounds -- were likely stalking Shepard and waiting for the right moment to ambush his catch.
“As frustrating as it is to lose my catch to them, I respect the laws protecting Goliath and will never physically harm or kill them,” he said. It's a fish that can reach the size of a grizzly bear, and it's loved by divers and despised by many fishermen.
The goliathgrouper, capable of growing to 800 pounds, bobs around the reefs and swallows the occasional crab or passing fish. As fishermen tell it, these marine blimps hover in wait of easy meals, parking themselves next to fishing boats and snatching someone else's hard-won catch off the line.
They face strong opposition from environmentalists, divers and some scientists, who relish the opportunity to see these enormous, surprisingly curious fish just a few hundred yards from South Florida's condo towers. “If you sit still, they'll come to you and see what's going on,” said Kevin Metz, owner of Underwater Explorers of Boynton Beach, whose business from August through October consists almost exclusively of taking divers to see Goliath groupers at a submerged wreck.
Brian Sanders of Davie has taken famous South Floridians including former Miami Dolphins' linebacker Zach Thomas and former pro wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fishing for Goliath. Written comments to the wildlife commission in support of allowing them to be taken again describe similar experiences.
Whether to allow them to be killed, the wildlife commission has received 439 written comments so far, the majority from fishermen who blame the resurgence of Goliath groupers for a decline in the number of other fish. “They eat massive amounts of reef fish to maintain and grow to these huge weights.
Known until 2001 by the politically incorrect name “Jewish,” the goliathgrouper had sustained a sharp decline due to overfishing for its meat, the loss of coastal habitat for young fish and the inherent vulnerabilities of a long-lived species that takes years to reach sexual maturity. The species is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the global authority on the status of wildlife populations.
“Recent stock assessment indicates abundance in South Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990,” said Amanda Valley, spokeswoman for the wildlife commission. “While a limited harvest of smaller-sized fish in south Florida is unlikely to harm the population, the FCC also wants to take into consideration stakeholder perspectives.
Sylvia Earle, one of the world's foremost marine biologists, who was named a Hero for the Planet by Time magazine, strongly supports keeping the ban, saying that living Goliath groupers are ecological treasures that support a growing tourism industry. “The spawning aggregations of these huge fish have grown in the past decade and divers now come from all over the world to see the magic, which in turn supports ecotourism in Florida,” she said in comment emailed to the Sun-Sentinel.
To allow a harvest of these beautiful creatures, especially in the face of the prevailing scientific evidence, would be folly and do real damage to local ecosystems and economies.” I read a sketchy account this morning of a free diving spear fisherman in Florida who apparently was killed when the large grouper he'd speared ran into some sort of cover, entangling and trapping the diver with his own spear lines.
“It looks like the fish wrapped the line attached to the spear around the victim's wrist. The fish then went into a hole in a coral rock, effectively pinning the man to the bottom of the ocean,” Coleman said in a news release.
Police divers found the speared fish tightly wedged into the hole, with the man's body still tangled in the line, a sheriff's spokeswoman said. Goliath Grouper are the largest members of the sea bass family and can weigh hundreds of pounds.
The 42-year-old man, whose name was withheld, was free-diving in about 25 feet of water off the lower Florida Keys Saturday and speared a Goliath Grouper, Monroe County Sheriff's Detective Mark Coleman said. “It looks like the fish wrapped the line attached to the spear around the victim's wrist.
The fish then went into a hole in a coral rock, effectively pinning the man to the bottom of the ocean,” Coleman said in a news release. Police divers found the speared fish tightly wedged into the hole, with the man's body still tangled in the line, a sheriff's spokeswoman said.
I don't spearfish much anymore, but it strikes me as nuts to spear a fish that big with a line anyway don't you think. # of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Stuck in the middle with you That title on this thread is very misleading and, it is incorrect.
Check out this video of a diver having his mangrove snappers gobbled up by a swarm of hungry goliathgrouper. In that time they have rebounded and are found in great numbers on any shallow-water structures like the wrecks in the video.
Nicole Norway was diving off the Florida coast when the fish swam to her She tickled its chin before they both pulled their best pouts for the camera Photographer Wayne McWilliams captured the moment at an artificial reef This the extraordinary moment a Goliath grouper swam up to a diver and pecked her on the lips as she puckered up for a kiss.
Photographer Wayne McWilliams was diving off Boynton Beach in Florida, USA, when he captured the brief underwater romance. Fellow diver Nicole Norway swam right up to the grouper and tickled its chin before turning towards the fish as they both pulled their best pouts for the camera.
The 58-year-old photographer said: 'We dive a wreck called the MV Castor, which was sunk as an artificial reef in 2001. He recalled: 'To get the full diver and that huge fish all in frame I needed to move back.
High Quality Prints may be ordered by clicking the BUY PRINT link Search Photos via Category Tree, Image Search, Marine, Terrestrial, or Image Galleries. Image Description: Scuba Diver observing an Atlantic GoliathGrouper (Epimetheus Tamara), inside the wreck of the Mishap offshore Singer Island, Florida, USA.
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Jim Abernathy, a well known conservationist and deep sea diver is taking a stand to protect Goliath Groupers. Abernathy, clearly against the move says, he hopes others in the state will take measures to protect the species. He said, the friendly, but large fish are not only an asset to marine life, but contribute to tourism.
These divers travel from all over the world, fly in, spend money on hotels, on restaurants, and go out on a dive boats to see this beautiful creature. “No one we talked with were in favor of harvesting the grouper, but if you have a differing opinion FCC will be holding a workshop in Stuart on Oct. 1.
These divers travel from all over the world, fly in, spend money on hotels, on restaurants, and go out on a dive boats to see this beautiful creature. WBF 25 News reached out to FCC to find out why they would suggest harvesting a critically endangered species.
No one we talked with were in favor of harvesting the grouper, but if you have a differing opinion FCC will be holding a workshop in Stuart on Oct. 1. The National Association of Underwater Instructors (Nazi Worldwide) has been advancing its Nazi Green Diver Initiative (GDI) since early July 2015, and the GDI will be present at the Demo Show at Booth 1571 on Nov. 4 through Nov. 7 to broadcast its developed features and conservation progress to the dive industry.
GDI has the potential to be an essential resource for divers who want to create a cleaner aquatic world,’ said Nazi Executive Director Dallas Edmonton. Among its other developments, the dive industry will get to meet GDI’s first-ever full-time manager, who will take charge of advancing its mission.
With 10 years of non-profit experience, Sam Richardson will lead the effort to foster a more vibrant and impactful organization. ‘GDI is here to help support and empower divers to make positive, global changes, at a grassroots level.