Florida takes step toward the catching of goliath grouper

In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 photo, released by the Mote Marine Laboratory, a Goliath Grouper swims at Mote Aquarium in Sarasota, Fla. Florida may lift its three-decade ban on catching and killing goliath groupers. Wildlife officials are proposing, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, a limited harvest of the giant coastal fish, saying their numbers have rebounded sufficiently since they were almost driven to extinction by overfishing and environmental damage. (Conor Goulding/Mote Marine Laboratory via AP) (Conor Goulding, Mote Marine Laboratory)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Florida game regulators took a tentative step toward allowing the catching and killing of goliath groupers.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told its staff on Wednesday to craft a regulation it has proposed that would allow 100 goliaths to be caught and kept annually during a four-year period.

Supported by fishing groups, the proposed limited harvest calls for a lottery to issue $300-per-week licenses that allow each recipient to catch and kill one goliath, with proceeds funding research of the species.

But board members said that did not mean the regulation would ultimately be approved even over the next few years, saying the science may not support its quick adoption.