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Is It Illegal To Kill Goliath Grouper

author
Daniel Brown
• Thursday, 22 October, 2020
• 10 min read

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.

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(Source: mission-blue.org)

Contents

“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. 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.

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(Source: mission-blue.org)

“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. On August 26th, Joshua Anyzeski caught the prohibited species, removing it from the water to take a picture.

The picture circulated on social media, which tipped off officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 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.

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(Source: mission-blue.org)

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.

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.

Fishery exploitation and the science behind regulations placed on humans interaction with wildlife is extremely complicated, but in this case I DEFINITELY support the GoliathGrouper's continued protection. That seems like a good problem to have, as they can be harnessed for tourism due to the fact they are one of the coolest fish in the entire ocean.

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(Source: mission-blue.org)

Its massive size and slow growth (it takes five to seven years for a grouper to become sexually mature) has made it highly susceptible to pressure from commercial and recreational fishing, which has led to its status as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Recently, the FCC conducted a stock assessment of the grouper ’s numbers in Florida, and found it to be at much healthier levels than it was when first declared an endangered species.

However, the study was rejected for use in federal waters by an independent panel of scientists due to its limited scope, which only included South Florida. They’ve raised enough concern that the FCC is now considering reopening the fishery, albeit in a limited fashion.

Due to the controversy around the issue, the FCC is hosting more than a dozen workshops to discuss the matter and to get a feel for public opinion. Currently, one idea on the table is to create a four-year paid lottery that would allow 100 people each year to harvest one goliathgrouper.

It would cost $300 to buy into, and the fish can only be caught by hook and line, with no commercial harvest or sale allowed. Studies by Florida State University marine biologists in 2010 and 2011 found that the grouper is still being fished illegally and disagreed with anglers’ statements that the Goliath is a threat to their livelihood.

Furthermore, they found that Goliath improve reef diversity rather than threaten it, countering a claim that has been made by proponents of an open fishery. Regardless, anglers contend that they are competing with the grouper, saying that Goliath have snatched their catch from their lines as they were reeling them in.

goliath groupers grouper florida endangered critically protect killing mission mag stearns walt
(Source: mission-blue.org)

A Key West college student learned a hard lesson about Florida wildlife law this week, police said. Joshua David Anyzeski, 18, was jailed Monday after state fish and wildlife officers said he removed a Goliath grouper from the water, so he could pose for a photo with it.

He was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of a Goliath grouper, booked into the Stock Island Detention Center and released the same day after posting a $7,500 bond. A Key West college student got arrested after sharing this photo with friends in a group text.

“The lagoon is a classroom space where we teach diving and marine science classes,” said Amber Ernst-Leonard, the college’s spokeswoman. Anyzeski got in trouble after sending the photo of him holding the Goliath grouper to friends in a group text to brag about snagging the fish, according to the report.

On Aug. 28, FCC investigators went to Anyzeski’s dorm room at the College of the Florida Keys to speak with him about the photo. Asked if Anyzeski is in trouble with the school for the catch, Ernst-Leonard said the college does not comment on student disciplinary cases.

The crucial Trump voting bloc that drifted to Biden The Goliath grouper is totally protected from harvest and is recognized as a critically endangered species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

grouper goliath biggest caught ever getzone fishing
(Source: www.getzone.com)

Sign in it really depends on where you live... I am guessing Florida, so check myfwc.com, but you first have to catch one. The Atlantic goliathgrouper or Tamara (Epimetheus Tamara), also known as the Jewish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft).

Its range includes the Florida Keys in the US, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, it is caught off the coasts of the US states of New England off Maine and Massachusetts.

Young Atlantic Goliath groupers may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers. They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb).

The world record for a hook-and-line-captured specimen is 308.44 kg (680.0 lb), caught off Fernanda Beach, Florida, in 1961. Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic goliathgrouper were a highly sought-after quarry for fishermen.

It is a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen because of the grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature. They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning annually to the same locations.

goliath grouper illegal harvest been
(Source: www.flickr.com)

Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline. The fish is recognized as “vulnerable” globally and “endangered” in the Gulf of Mexico.

The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, some time will be needed for populations to return to their previous levels. Goliath groupers are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, which refer to organisms that are born female and at some point in their lifespans change sex to male.

Males can be sexually mature at about 115 centimeters (45 in), and ages 4–6 years. In May 2015, the Atlantic goliathgrouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time.

Tidal pools act as nurseries for juvenile E. Tamara. In tidal pools juvenile E.Tamara are able to utilize rocky crevices for shelter.

Besides shelter, tidal pools provide E. Tamara with plenty of prey such as lobster and porcelain crab. It may have referred to the fish's status as inferior leading it to be declared only suitable for Jews, or the flesh having a “clean” taste comparable to kosher food ; it has also been suggested that this name is simply a corruption of jaw fish or the Italian word for “bottom fish”, Giuseppe.

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(Source: jacquithurlowlippisch.com)

In 2001, the American Fisheries Society stopped using the term because of complaints that it was culturally insensitive. Epimetheus Tamara (errata version published in 2019)”.

^ Free, Trainer and Paul, Daniel, eds. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of Jewish Epimetheus Tamara in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”.

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03: Atlantic Goliath Grouper
04: Atlantic Goliath Grouper Diet
05: Atlantic Goliath Grouper Predators
06: Atlantic Goliath Grouper Wikipedia
07: Atlantic Grouper Season 2021
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09: What Age For Florida Fishing License
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Sources
1 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/black-grouper
2 aqua.org - https://aqua.org/explore/animals/black-grouper
3 www.doc.govt.nz - https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/marine-fish-and-reptiles/spotted-black-grouper/
4 uplandcoast.com - https://uplandcoast.com/grouper-taste/
5 www.hartleybermuda.com - https://www.hartleybermuda.com/wp/barrak-the-black-grouper
6 modernfarmer.com - https://modernfarmer.com/2014/07/fishheads-rolly-polly-delicious/