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FWC approves harvest of goliath grouper

State wildlife officials say the new goliath grouper season will begin Spring 2023.
Credit: AP
In this undated photo provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is a goliath grouper. Florida is lifting its three-decade ban on catching and killing goliath groupers after wildlife officials argued their numbers have rebounded. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, a proposal to allow recreational harvest of 200 goliaths per year from March to May. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via AP)

FLORIDA, USA — Beginning Spring 2023, Florida will allow goliath groupers to be harvested in state waters for the first time in more than 30 years, state wildlife officials announced on Thursday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says up to 200 permits will be issued via a random draw. 

Back in 1990, years of overfishing and pollution nearly killed off the goliath grouper, which led Florida lawmakers to ban harvesting the fish. However, back in October 2021, the FWC reversed its rule.

“After decades of closure to this fishery, we welcome this opportunity for a highly regulated, limited take of goliath grouper,” said FWC Commissioner Robert Spottswood in a news release. “In addition, the post-harvest data reporting will help guide future management decisions for this species.”

The new goliath grouper harvest season will run from March 1 to May 31 and will limit one fish per person per season, according to FWC. A maximum of 50 groupers can be fished from Everglades National Park. 

The randomly-drawn permit will also allow fishing in all state waters except Martin County through the Atlantic coast of the Keys, the St. Lucie River and Dry Tortugas National Park. 

Harvest is still banned in federal waters.

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