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Goliath Grouper Limit

author
Earl Hamilton
• Friday, 16 October, 2020
• 8 min read

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council would like to gain a better understanding of what’s happening on the water. All anglers on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation.

grouper goliath pound pushes angler determined limit
(Source: www.wideopenspaces.com)

Contents

Those with a Gulf Reef Fish Angler designation will meet the statewide requirement until the Gulf designation expires, even if you are fishing on the Atlantic coast. Gulf state waters are from shore to 9 nautical miles.

Atlantic state waters are from shore to 3 nautical miles. Participation mandatory to fish for grouper in Florida waters.

Expand All | Collapse All 1 gag or black within the 3 grouper aggregate Note: In the Atlantic reef fish fishery, gear rules require hooking tools, and as of Jan. 1, 2021, non-stainless steel hooks in all state waters, and non-offset circle hooks N. of 28 ° N. latitude.

Several species of Gulf grouper (red, black, scamp, yellow fin and yellow mouth) are closed Feb. 1-March 31 seaward of the 20-fathom break. Recreational anglers are encouraged to use electronic charting equipment to plot the 20-fathom break by entering the established coordinates listed on the map below into a route.

Monroe County: Several species of Atlantic grouper (red, black, yellow fin, yellow mouth, scamp, rock hind, red hind, Coney and grays by) are closed Jan. 1 – April 30 in all state and federal waters of the Atlantic including all state waters off Monroe County (Atlantic and Gulf sides). During this closure, anglers can harvest grouper in open federal waters of the Gulf and return to port in Monroe County by traveling through closed state waters of the Atlantic as long as the vessel proceeds directly to port without stopping to fish.

grouper goliath
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Western boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region. Eastern boundary of the 4-county gag grouper recreational harvest region.

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. Spawns over summer months; lifespan of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish.

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

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.

grouper goliath
(Source: www.newsherald.com)

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.

Click here for helpful resources, including: best fishing practices tips information on hook types how-to videos Maggie Marmoreal/For the Herald The goliathgrouper, the monster reef fish that can grow to 800 pounds and nearly disappeared in the 1970s, is off-limits for now.

On Thursday, Florida wildlife commissioners refused to lift a nearly two-decade ban on harvesting the fish, citing continued uncertainty about the remaining numbers and bowing to the demands of divers and scientists, who packed a meeting and led an online petition that drew nearly 60,000 signatures. “The fact we’re even having this discussion means we’ve been successful,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission chair BO River.

Curious and generally fearless, they were easy targets for anglers and spear fishermen, especially when they gathered in large numbers in July and August to mate. After the ban in 1990, the fish began to bounce back, but scientists believe Florida's record 2010 freeze likely sent numbers downward again.

grouper goliath florida marquesas december don keys bear limits demaria officials tommy 1978 thomas taken collection grizzly say still harvesting
(Source: wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu)

Anglers, however, have increasingly complained that the voracious fish are taking over reefs and gobbling up their catches. A survey FCC conducted in the Keys and Dry Tortugas found just a 2 and 4.5 percent increase.

They also said lobster counts have remained stable, indicating that the fish are not affecting the popular, and lucrative, crustacean. The controversy over whether to allow harvesting has divided some anglers and divers, who consider the gentle Goliath a mascot for the reefs.

On Thursday, about 60 speakers, nearly all divers and many wearing Save the Goliath T-shirts handed out by the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, criticized the move as an attempt to appease anglers. “You’re awarding a trophy fish to essentially a lazy hunter,” said Miami diver James Woodard.

UM Rosenthal School of Marine and Atmospheric Science fishery scientist Bill Hartford and Nova geneticist Andrea Bernard said they are working on building a statistical model, similar to methods used to assess blue fin tuna, that can account for gaps in catch history caused by the fishing moratorium and provide an accurate count for adult fish in Florida. “People got us into this problem and if the fishing opens back up, we'll likely be back in this position,” said Ellie Fodder, a sophomore environmental study major at Becker College who left campus at 3:30 a.m. Thursday with her dive club, the Scuba Jews, and campus rabbi, Ed Rosenthal, to make the morning meeting.

Goliath grouper occupies a wide geographic range, from Florida, including the Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, and Caribbean Sea, south to Brazil. It is also found in both the eastern Pacific and eastern Atlantic from Senegal to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; however, it is rare in the Canary Islands.

grouper goliath florida lose protection catch usa information www2 padi
(Source: www2.padi.com)

Based on a study done by Craig et al. (2009), results suggest that there are genetic differences between populations of goliathgrouper in U.S. waters and those near Belize and Brazil. This species of grouper tends to be easily recognizable, in part, because it is the largest grouper species in western Atlantic waters.

Its body is brownish yellow, gray or olive colored with irregular dark bars on its sides and small spots mostly on its head and fins. The goliathgrouper has a very broad head with small eyes; the spiny dorsal fin is very low, and much shorter than the second dorsal fin.

Juveniles are a yellowish-orange color with dark irregular vertical bands and blotches on their sides. The adult goliathgrouper lives in shallow waters up to 328 feet (100 meters) 6, over wrecks, corals or muddy or rocky bottoms.

This is one of the few grouper species also found in brackish water habitats. Adults are territorial and occupy limited home ranges.

Juvenile and young-adult fish can be found around estuaries mangroves and oyster bars. The typical spawning season is June through October; peak spawning within the Gulf of Mexico occurs from July through September.

goliath grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

5 There is still some debate whether this fish transitions from female to male as there appears to be a lack of conclusive evidence that this species is a protogynous hermaphrodite. Cryptic genetic divergence in a threatened marine fish and the resurrection of a geopolitical species.

Age, growth, and reproduction of Jewish Epimetheus Ithaca in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. IFA All Tackle Record, Fernanda Beach, FL Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner.

Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline.

The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities. The Gulf covers most of Florida’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula.

This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters. For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from.

grouper goliath
(Source: www.youtube.com)

For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.

It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a GoliathGrouper or Nassau Grouper, take a quick picture and release it back to the wild. Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing.

Keep in mind, the FCC considers the Everglades and Florida Keys as part of the Atlantic Ocean waters, and all fishing done in these areas must stay within Atlantic-specific regulations. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.

The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

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

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Sources
1 fultonfishmarket.com - https://fultonfishmarket.com/fresh-red-grouper-portion.html
2 www.keywestseafooddepot.com - https://www.keywestseafooddepot.com/Black-Grouper-Fillets_p_8.html
3 www.fdacs.gov - https://www.fdacs.gov/Consumer-Resources/Buy-Fresh-From-Florida/Seafood-Products/Grouper
4 www.kwseafood.com - https://www.kwseafood.com/seafood/fish/grouper-fillets/black-grouper
5 www.tridge.com - https://www.tridge.com/intelligences/grouper/price
6 www.fishanywhere.com - https://www.fishanywhere.com/blog/grouper-season-2020-in-florida/
7 www.joepattis.com - http://www.joepattis.com/shop/select-quantity.cfm
8 keywestshrimpcompany.com - https://keywestshrimpcompany.com/product/yellowedge-grouper/
9 www.news-press.com - https://www.news-press.com/story/news/2020/03/19/coronavirus-florida-island-seafood-market-matlacha-serving-community-fresh-fish/2873975001/