Goliath grouper entering baitball CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY PAUL DABILL

FL - Florida FWC to decide if goliath grouper will open to limited harvest

A select few saltwater anglers fishing in Florida waters soon may be able to take home a goliath grouper for dinner. However, with a costly permit required, will anglers be willing to pay the price?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission next month may vote on whether to approve or modify a proposed change to fishing regulations for goliath grouper, a species that has been protected from harvest in state and federal waters since 1990. The FWC will meet Oct. 6-7 in St. Augustine.

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What are the proposed regulations?

FWC staff has been working on developing new fishing regulations for goliath grouper since spring. The seven-member governor-appointed commission will vote on these proposed rules:

  • The harvest of up to 200 goliath grouper per year, with harvest opportunities awarded via random-draw lottery with a maximum of one permit and tag per person per year
  • A lottery application fee of $10 and, if awarded, a permit fee of $500
  • A slot limit of 20-36 inches total length
  • Hook-and-line as the only allowable gear
  • An annual open harvest season of March 1 through May 31
  • Harvest allowed in all state waters except those of Palm Beach County south through the Atlantic coast of Monroe County
  • A requirement for participants to submit harvest and biological information.

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