When it comes to Florida politics, there's a lot going around here, from Trump's Tampa visit to the hot button issue of sanctuary cities. Yet, what may grab more of your attention is the latest news concerning the goliath grouper, if you're a fisherman and focused on the fish species. A number of fishermen have been cited as suggesting the population of the fish has increased over the recent past, and they're hopeful that the relevant authorities in Florida will once again allow it to be harvested.
Since 1990, fishermen have not been allowed to harvest the goliath grouper after uncontrolled fishing almost speared it into extinction. But today, there's hope that Florida will review the restrictions.
On February 8-10, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will gather to look at the future of the fish regarding the matter of harvesting.
Yet, no recommendation has been offered so far to allow harvesting of the fish. In one of the meetings, FWC officials will table to the commission a report of the biology as well as latest findings on the population of the goliath grouper.
The FWC spokeswoman said that the commission will be looking into if or not to seek public opinion concerning the potential management changes that may include allowing harvesting in a restricted form.
Biologists and conservationists are asking for more time to study the goliath's lifecycle. The experts are investigating how big the fish can develop, how long they live, their catch and release stats, and the harm that previous commercial harvesting has left the fish species. Years of overharvesting by commercial divers threatened to drive the goliath grouper into extinction by 1990, although fishermen see the menacing resurgence of the top predator today, and now its sweeping clean the reefs, eating everything in its path that its gigantic mouth can accommodate, including smaller fish lobsters.
A fishing guide at the Vero Beach is quoted as suggesting that the fish have grown into a nuisance, and as such, some form of harvesting on them should be allowed. And now, more divers as well as fishermen are up in arms that they've seen enough of the fish. In certain cases, the state is being asked to allow the targeting of goliaths weighing from 10 to 50 pounds while leaving alone the bigger ones that reproduce. In essence, no one is presently seeking open season in which a zillion goliaths could be caught.
Decisions by the FWC will dictate whether or not Florida fishermen can start supporting their livelihood by catching the goliath grouper. Depending on your perception, the final determination may be one of the best Florida political news.