Goliath Groupers Need You!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
is Considering REMOVING The MORATORIUM On Goliath Groupers To Allow Sport Fishing.

In 1994, Goliath groupers were declared critically endangered and the fishing of Goliaths in both federal and state waters was prohibited. Now, there is a push to reopen a limited sport season in Florida waters and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is seeking public comment before their October Meeting. Jupiter Dive Center urges you to help keep the protection of this species in place.

Diving with Goliaths

Diving with Goliath groupers is an unforgettable experience. You hear them first—their distinctive bark booming through the water. Then they swim into view, gentle giants stretching up to eight feet and weighing in at a svelte 500 pounds.

Historically, Goliaths ranged well beyond our state’s shores, now, they are primarily found in southern Florida’s waters. In fact, every year from July through September, they aggregate off Jupiter, Florida to spawn. Jupiter Dive Center and other dive operations often run charters specifically to observe these aggregations, and seeing sixty or more of these behemoths is truly an incredible opportunity that only a fortunate few get to experience.

If you dive in Florida or live here, and have been lucky enough to witness the unique aggregation experience with these majestic creatures, truly the gentle giants of the ocean, then a change in the moratorium status could impact your ability to see these animals.

What You Can Do To Help

SUBMITTING YOUR PUBLIC COMMENTS IS CRITICAL to preventing a change of status to the current harvest moratorium. Such a change would allow harvesting the Goliath Grouper for the first time since the 1990s.

Either directly email or in person or both!

  • SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS DIRECTLY to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commissioners (FWC) asking them to maintain the harvest moratorium and prevent the proposed, so-called “limited harvest.” DEMA has also drafted Email Diver Comments to FWC, which can be copied and pasted into an email or downloaded, and personalized from you. Comments can be sent directly to the Commission via email at: commissioners@MyFWC.com

Advance comments NEED to be submitted no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, October 1, 2021.

  • PLAN TO ATTEND the FWC meeting in October. HAVING MORE DIVERS ATTEND THIS MEETING WILL GET THE ATTENTION OF THE FWC AND THE MEDIA. Diving organizations such as DEMA  and REEF will have representatives there, but we must have substantial dive industry representation at this meeting, or the Commission will simply infer that the diving community doesn’t care.

The FWC Commissioners will meet on both Wed Oct 6th and Thu, Oct 7th. The discussion concerning Goliath grouper management is currently slated for Wednesday at 8:30 am (but is subject to change).

Data on Goliaths

An assessment of the Goliath population was conducted in 2016, but the report was not accepted at the federal level. Because of a lack of data to suggest the Goliath population has adequately rebounded, the federal prohibition against harvesting Goliaths remained in place. The state, however, is considering altering its regulations again and we need to take action!

FWC Proposal

According to the FWC website, staff will provide a review and discussion of Goliath grouper, including biology, stock status, and stakeholder feedback. They will then seek the Commission’s direction on what steps to take next for Goliath grouper management in state waters--which may include limited harvest. 

FWC Summary Memo

https://myfwc.com/media/27535/6-sm-goliathgrouper.pdf

FWC Presentation

https://myfwc.com/media/27533/6-presentation-goliathgrouper.pdf

Learn More

For a look at the April Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agenda, click

 https://myfwc.com/about/commission/commission-meetings/october-2021/

Nat Geo recent article

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/florida-considering-opening-a-fishery-for-endangered-goliath-grouper

Florida Pheonix Article by CRAIG PITTMAN

https://floridaphoenix.com/2021/05/27/goliath-grouper-making-a-comeback-in-florida-so-lets-kill-em/

For more information, tune into the video of the Goliath grouper workshop presented at one of the Florida Keys workshops in 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEsrtiCAjpQ

Please join Jupiter Dive Center and many other dive centers and organizations in opposing the reopening of a limited sport season for Goliath groupers. 

DON’T DELAY ACT NOW!

9 Comments

  1. Mark Snyder on September 17, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    It makes no sense, that Goliath grouper shouldn’t be protected like , Bottle nose Dolphin , sea turtles and hundreds of other marine life species . Like anything opened to sport fishing , it will be abused and ran thin in no time .

  2. T. Scott Cook PhD on September 18, 2021 at 4:53 am

    Live fish are worth so much more to your economy, than a dead fish. I travel to Florida to dive with the Groupers with a group from Massachusetts. We spend thousands in your local economy to experience this amazing species!
    Fragile species and top of food chain fish need protection, not exploiting! Opening up for sport fishing, is a horrible idea. It speaks of short sightedness! Bottom line- live fish will add to your economy and educate people to preserve and protect. Please don’t do this!

  3. Greg Mansur on September 18, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I spend thousands of dollars in Jupiter, FL diving off the coast with the help of the Jupiter Dive shop, and Kyalami dive boat. Take away the Goliath Grouper and you can forget my money. Gone. No money. Have you ever seen a Goliath Grouper? What sport is there in hooking on of them? Big dumb beautiful slow moving beasts. The oceans are dying. The fish are dying. The who ecosystem is on the verge of collapse. Hurricanes, tropical storms, rising tides, etc., and you want to allow the killing of these magnificent fish. Such ignorance. Reminds me of the ‘management of our oceans, forest and rivers’ philosophy. Listen up – they don’t need ‘management’. They don’t need us. They are fine. Leave it alone.

  4. Steve Gordon on September 18, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    As an avid diver, I appreciate the serenity and beauty of our natural underwater resources. It’s about interacting with these gentle giants which is such an inspiring and therapeutic experience that helps me to cope with my PTSD from my Vietnam war experiences.

    Have you ever experienced a dive with these awesome creatures? If not then please consider making a dive to experience them first hand before you vote to undo their long struggle of coming back to this point.

    A limited harvest of Goliath Grouper serves no useful purpose. Are they such a nuisance that limited eradication must happen to keep them in check? Obviously not……………..

    Redfish and Snook have not been opened up this year as their numbers are still in jeopardy from the yet again, hit from Red Tide. These species will rebound much more quickly than the Goliath Groupers, which will take many years, if not decades. However, the same process holds true here; keep Goliath Grouper harvest CLOSED until concrete empirical data demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that their numbers are no longer in jeopardy and can sustain themselves even with limits to harvest.

  5. Sharon Baron on September 19, 2021 at 2:02 am

    Absolutely no sport fishing on Goliath Groupers.

  6. A. Bennett on September 19, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Thank you for your help with this, this is a great and informative email. I remember when I first came to the east coast from the west coast of Florida back in 1991, they were called Jewfish, and people would shoot them to harvest and commercial divers would sell the meat – and then there were none. My own husband at the time who did this even said, it needs to stop, there aren’t any left. We ran dive charters for years off Palm Beach. So I can say with experience they are worth far more alive then dead. We cannot allow them to be harvested. Period.

  7. Susan Banks on September 21, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    No sport fishing of Goliath Groupers!

  8. Angelina (Gina) Castro on September 21, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    I had one fellow diver/hunter/fisherman from our local dive club tell me that the Goliaths were violent, destructive and nuisances. After spending the last decade diving with the Goliaths, especially during the aggregation in the fall, I honestly have no idea what he’s talking about. Not did we see large numbers of injured fish this season, but we saw much lower numbers than in past years. They continued to be fished, injured and endangered both in the open ocean in the mangroves. The proposal for a limited 3-month lottery-hunt remains misinformed and misguided. One season alone is enough to eradicate what few we have left here. Their slow maturation and reproduction cannot sustain the culling planned by the state. Once again, it is a noisy minority of fishermen that stand to gain from this at the expense of all else. Many thanks to Jupiter Dive Center and other businesses who continue to tirelessly support efforts to protect the epinephelus itajara.

  9. […] For more information on the campaign to keep the ban in place, visit the website of Florida's Jupiter Dive Centre, which is helping to lead the campaign, at www.jupiterdivecenter.com/goliath-groupers-need-you. […]

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