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Goliath Grouper Laws

author
Brent Mccoy
• Tuesday, 08 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Found nearshore around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges; young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars; more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters. CLOSED TO HARVEST OR POSSESSION IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC EEA (FEDERAL WATERS) SINCE 1990.

grouper goliath fish fwc height naturecoaster
(Source: myfwc.com)

Contents

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided additional guidelines on release techniques for Goliath grouper. CLOSED TO HARVEST OR POSSESSION IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC EEA (FEDERAL WATERS) SINCE 1990.

Note: Goliath grouper and Nassau grouper must be released by cutting the line and NOT removed from the water. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has provided additional guidelines on release techniques for Goliath grouper.

At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage. Descending Device Requirement: Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet.

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Descending Device Requirement: Requirement: A descending device is required to be on board and readily available for use on all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper- grouper species; Definition of a Descending Device: an instrument to which is attached a minimum of a 16 ounce weight and a length of line that will release the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught or a minimum of 60 feet. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

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(Source: mission-blue.org)

Click here for helpful resources, including: best fishing practices tips information on hook types how-to videos Its range includes the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys in the United States, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast.

Scientists from our Southeast Fisheries Science Center are working to understand the changes that have occurred in coral reef ecosystems following the loss of top predators, such as groupers. The once common Nassau grouper (Epimetheus stratus) and goliathgrouper (E. Tamara) have been so depleted that they are under complete protection from the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.

From 1997-2005, our researchers collaborated with Florida State University's Institute for Fishery Resource Ecology (Dr. Chris Koenig and Dr. Felicia Coleman) to monitor the status and recovery of goliathgrouper. This goliathgrouper research program investigated juvenile and adult Jewish abundance, distribution and migration patterns; their age and growth; and their habitat utilization.

With the help of Don Maria we have tagged over 1,000 adult Jewish and have observed aggregations of goliathgrouper in both the Gulf of Mexico and more recently, the South Atlantic. Posters created by the Center of Marine Conservation help disseminate information about our project and its requirements, highlighting our tagging study and the morphology of goliathgrouper.

Given that these groupers were afforded protected status, researchers worked to utilize and develop novel non-lethal techniques to procure and analyze biological samples for life history information. These casualties, resulting from red tide, gave our biologists a unique opportunity to collect a multitude of biological samples, without having to sacrifice healthy animals.

grouper goliath dives aggregation
(Source: www.puravidadivers.com)

From these decomposing carcasses, biologists were able to record length for use in an age/length relationship, and were able to extract monoliths and remove dorsal spines and rays for comparison of hard parts in age and growth analysis. Tissue samples were also removed and sent to the Florida Marine Research Institute, so they could evaluate the level of red tide toxin.

The sampling trip gave these biologists an opportunity to educate the curious beach goers about red tide and goliathgrouper (a few of which had been misidentified as baby manatees). Attempts to evaluate the data needed to assess the status of these depleted stocks and develop rebuilding plans present unique challenges.

In 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries convened a benchmark goliathgrouper assessment for the continental U.S. population. This project would not have been possible without ongoing collaboration with researchers from Florida State University, Everglades National Park, and the recreational fishing and SCUBA diving communities.

The giant of the grouper family, the Goliath (formerly called Jewish) has brown or yellow mottling with small black spots on the head and fins, a large mouth with jawbones that extend well past its small eyes, and a rounded tail. The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage.

If a large Goliath is brought on-board a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested. Goliath grouper populations declined throughout their range during the 1970s and 1980s due to increased fishing pressure from commercial and recreational fishers and divers.

grouper goliath florida fishing season diver menu vs sportdiver skip sport population
(Source: www.sportdiver.com)

At their July 2014 meeting in Key Largo, this committee reviewed the most up-to-date scientific information on goliathgrouper and recommended a new stock assessment for this species. As a result, the most recent stock assessment, conducted by the FCC was completed in June 2016 (Sedan 47).

The stock assessment indicates abundance in south Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990. However, in the final step of the review process, the assessment was rejected by an independent panel of scientists for use in federal management due to a lack of reliable indicators of abundance outside south Florida.

Goliath are also susceptible to large scale mortality events such as cold temperatures and red tide blooms. When not feeding or spawning, adult Goliath groupers are generally solitary, sedentary and territorial.

Before the goliathgrouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel and moray eels, as well as sandbar and hammerhead sharks. Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest.

Reproductive maturity first occurs in fish 5 or 6 years of age (about 36 inches in length) due to their slow growth rate. Males mature at a smaller size (about 42 inches) and slightly younger age than females.

goliath grouper change groupers victory hunt
(Source: www.change.org)

These groups occur at consistent sites such as wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish may move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.

In southwest Florida, presumed courtship behavior has been observed during the full moons in August and September. Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest within or without Florida waters, nor possess within or without Florida waters, more than a total of 10 snapper per day, in any combination of species.

Except as provided elsewhere in this chapter, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 2 red snapper per day, nor shall a recreational harvester harvest in or from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 2 red snapper per day. On any vessel licensed to carry customers wherein a fee is paid, either directly or indirectly, for the purpose of taking or attempting to take marine fish in the Gulf of Mexico, the applicable bag and possession limit specified in this rule shall not extend to the operator of such vessel or any person employed as a crewman of such vessel.

Such bag and possession limit shall be counted for purposes of the aggregate snapper bag and possession limit prescribed in paragraph (a), only if harvested in or from state waters. Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 5 vermilion snapper per day (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 32450 C.F.R.

No recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 10 vermilion snapper per day. Lane snapper harvested in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico shall not be subject to nor counted for purposes of determining compliance with the bag and possession limits established in paragraph (a).

grouper goliath 800 pound fishermen
(Source: www.orlandosentinel.com)

Cuber snapper of a total length less than thirty inches (30'') shall be included in the aggregate snapper bag and possession limit established in paragraph (a), and the exception provided in subsection (9). Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, in all state waters of the Atlantic Ocean and all state waters of Monroe County, within the aggregate bag and possession limit established in paragraph (a), no more than 1 fish may be a gag or a black grouper.

Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, except in all waters of Monroe County, within the aggregate bag and possession limit established in paragraph (a), no more than 2 fish may be gag grouper. Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, in all state waters of the Gulf of Mexico, except in all waters of Monroe County, within the aggregate bag and possession limit established in paragraph889(2)890(a), no more than 2 fish may be red grouper (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 90750 C.F.R.

Such fish shall be counted for purposes of the aggregate grouper bag and possession limit prescribed in paragraph (a). No recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, more than one snowy grouper per day.

Such fish shall be counted for purposes of the aggregate grouper bag and possession limit prescribed in paragraph (a). The purchase, sale, or exchange of any Nassau grouper or goliathgrouper is prohibited.

1175(a) In the Atlantic Ocean and south of 25°09' North Latitude in the Gulf of Mexico, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters, nor possess while in or on state waters, more than 1 dogfish per day (1216consistent with the Federal Standard established in 122350 C.F.R. 1231(b) In the Gulf of Mexico north of 25°09' North Latitude, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters, nor possess while in or on state waters, more than 5 dogfish per day (1267consistent with the Federal Standard established in 127450 C.F.R.

grouper goliath jim concerns raises proposed harvest abernethy each carolina
(Source: www.coastalbreezenews.com)

Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, nor possess while in or on state waters of the Atlantic Ocean, more than 7 black sea bass per day (consistent with the Federal Standards established in 133550 C.F.R. Except as allowed for those persons harvesting for commercial purposes pursuant to Rule 141368B-14.0045, 1414F. A.C.

No person shall harvest from state waters, more than an aggregate bag limit of 5 banded rudder fish and lesser amber jack per day either individually or in combination, nor possess more than 5 such fish while in, on, or above the waters of the state or on any dock, pier, bridge, beach or any fishing site adjacent to such waters. No recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean nor possess in or on the state waters of the Atlantic Ocean more than one golden tile fish per person per day.

Such fish shall be counted for purposes of the aggregate grouper bag and possession limit prescribed in paragraph (2)(a). 1588(a) Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Gulf of Mexico nor possess in or on the state waters of the Gulf of Mexico more than one gray trigger fish at any time (consistent with the Federal Standard established in 163950 C.F.R.

1647(b) Except as provided elsewhere in this rule, no recreational harvester shall harvest in or from state waters of the Atlantic Ocean nor possess in or on the state waters of the Atlantic Ocean more than 10 gray trigger fish at any time. 1757(b) Any person harvesting pursuant to the bag limits of this rule, with the exclusion of red porgy harvested from the Atlantic Ocean, who has fished aboard a charter vessel or head boat on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess and land double the bag limit if the vessel has a sleeping berth for each passenger aboard the vessel and each such passenger possess a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the length of the trip.

Except as provided in paragraph (2)(d), the possession limits of this rule do not apply to any licensed seafood dealer, or to any fish purchased from a licensed wholesale or retail seafood dealer. The burden shall be upon the person claiming the benefit of this exemption to show, by receipts, bills of sale, or other appropriate documentation, that such fish were purchased from a licensed wholesale or retail seafood dealer.

grouper goliath fish change
(Source: www.change.org)

Failure to maintain such receipts, bills of sale, or other appropriate documentation shall constitute a violation of this rule.

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Sources
1 catchandfillet.com - https://catchandfillet.com/can-you-eat-a-goliath-grouper/
2 finnsfishingtips.com - https://finnsfishingtips.com/what-does-grouper-taste-like/
3 kjfelectrical.co.uk - https://kjfelectrical.co.uk/blog/wghbzsx.php
4 oureverydaylife.com - https://oureverydaylife.com/how-to-fillet-a-goliath-grouper-12519760.html
5 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_goliath_grouper