Florida could lift 30-year ban on catching 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)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida is proposing to lift 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 a draft proposal on Wednesday to allow the recreational harvest of 200 goliaths per year.

Agency spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the proposal remains tentative until a second vote in March 2022, and probably would not effect until 2023.

Meanwhile, the agency continues to gather public comments.

The goliath almost died off in the 1980s from overfishing and pollution and can’t be caught in any other state or federal waters.

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