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Is It Legal To Catch Grouper

author
Carole Stephens
• Thursday, 08 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Maggie Marmoreal/For the Herald The Goliath grouper, 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.

grouper gulf mexico catch bite
(Source: www.slideshare.net)

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.

grouper gulf mexico limits garoupa florida fake regulators staying low avoiding sea
(Source: www.cbs42.com)

“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. Grouper fishing in the Florida Keys and Key West is governed under the Atlantic grouper fishing regulations pursuant to Florida wildlife regulations.

That one black or gag counts towards the three grouper total aggregate max. If you are accused of not following these regulations outlined while fishing for grouper, you could be issued a criminal citation.

A citation for undersized or over the bag limit fish is not a simple ticket, it is a criminal violation. However, instead of taking you to jail, which is not very practical for marine law enforcement, they issue you a notice to appear in Court to answer for the criminal violation.

The penalties associated with possession of undersized of over the bag limit fishing violations are up to 60 days in jail and/or six months probation. Additionally, the Key West criminal defense lawyers at Robertson & Hunter, can appear on your behalf if you are from out of town.

For a misdemeanor fishing violation, there is a good chance this matter can be resolved without requiring you to come back to the Keys if you are indeed from out of town. Goliath Grouper have made a major comeback over recent years after being completely decimated by commercial pressure in the 70s and 80s.

(Source: www.youtube.com)

Goliath's can reach weights over 600lbs and love to engulf anything they can fit in their mouths, whether that is a jack, snapper, shook or permit, they couldn't care less. Although their aggressive personalities make them easy to hook, pulling them away from the safety of their dens is another matter entirely.

Depending mainly on the depth of the water and the structure, we employ 30-80 size reels on broom sticks for stand-up rods. 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.

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 Goliath grouper.

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. Scientists are skeptical that the Goliath grouper has recovered enough to allow it to be killed, even in a limited fashion.

grouper catch wikihow
(Source: www.wikihow.com)

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. Funding for this project was obtained through grants from the West Coast Inland Navigation District and Charlotte County.

View Saltwater Fish Measurement Guidelines, developed by the FCC's Division of Marine Fisheries Management. Lumberjack, GREATERMinimum size limit: 30" fork Closed season: June 1 to July 31 Daily recreation bag limit: 1 per harvester per day Remarks: Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Lumberjack, LESSER and BANDED RUDDERFISHMinimum size limit: 14" fork Maximum size limit: 22" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 5 aggregate of lesser amber jack and banded rudder fish Remarks: Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

grouper goliath save help data september posted info
(Source: www.wildlifevoice.org)

Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). GAG (Gag Grouper)Minimum size limit: 22" total length Closed season: Dec. 4 to June 30 Daily recreation bag limit: 2 per harvester per day.

Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Remarks: Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels. Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Back to Top HOGFISHMinimum size limit: 12" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 5 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). MACKEREL, KING (King fish)Minimum size limit: 24" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 2 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

grouper catch wikihow fishing bottom
(Source: www.wikihow.com)

Bag limit in Gulf-Atlantic fishery reduced to 1 when federal waters are closed to all harvest. MACKEREL, SPANISHMinimum size limit: 12" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 15 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait. FLORIDA POMPANOMinimum size limit: 11" fork Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 6 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Harvest by hook and line, cast net, and beach or haul seine only. Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

(Source: www.youtube.com)

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact).

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

SPOTTED Seafront (Speckled Sea trout)Minimum size limit: 15" total length Maximum size limit: 20" total length (one fish may be greater than 20") Closed season: None Daily recreation bag limit: 4 per harvester per day Remarks: Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

Fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads, fins, and tails intact). Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjunction with live or dead bait.

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Sources
1 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/groupers/
2 www.fishanywhere.com - https://www.fishanywhere.com/blog/grouper-season-2020-in-florida/
3 www.floridasportsman.com - http://www.floridasportsman.com/2020/08/20/gag-grouper-opens-september-1-gulf-4-county-region/
4 www.floridasportsman.com - http://www.floridasportsman.com/2020/12/23/several-grouper-closures-start-jan-1/
5 www.theledger.com - https://www.theledger.com/story/sports/2020/12/24/saltwater-gag-grouper-biting-offshore-and-around-inshore-structures/4024564001/
6 www.destinvacation.com - https://www.destinvacation.com/blog/2020/7/8062/gag-grouper-snapper-season-in-destin-florida-fishing-responsibly/
7 www.floridatoday.com - https://www.floridatoday.com/story/sports/outdoors/2020/12/10/space-coast-fishing-very-good-along-beaches-and-offshore/3855209001/
8 www.news4jax.com - https://www.news4jax.com/weather/2020/12/22/several-grouper-closures-to-start-off-2021/
9 www.youtube.com - https://www.youtube.com/watch