Florida lifts 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. (Conor Goulding/Mote Marine Laboratory via AP) (Conor Goulding, Mote Marine Laboratory)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 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 a proposal to allow the recreational harvest of 200 goliaths per year from March to May.

South Florida and the Florida Keys will be off limits, and the size of the catch would be kept between 20 inches (51 centimeters) and 36 inches (91 centimeters).

The goliath almost died off in the 1980s from overfishing and pollution and is not allowed to be caught in any other state or federal waters.