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Florida weighs allowing limited harvest of goliath grouper

Environmentalists say the fish still is endangered.
Credit: Conor Goulding/Mote Marine Laboratory via AP
In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 photo, released by the Mote Marine Laboratory, a Goliath Grouper swims at Mote Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida may lift its three-decade ban on catching and killing goliath grouper.

Wildlife officials are proposing a limited harvest of the giant coastal fish. They say the fish's numbers have rebounded sufficiently since it was almost driven to extinction by overfishing and environmental damage. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider on Wednesday a staff proposal to allow 100 goliaths to be caught and kept annually, for four years. A lottery would be held to distribute licenses. 

The proposal has the support of fishing groups but is opposed by environmentalists. They say the fish is still endangered. 

The goliath is mostly found off South Florida. It typically weighs 400 pounds but can reach 800.

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