ROD BENDERS: Florida Anglers See Influx of Goliath Grouper, Call for Harvest

The next few days mark the peak of spawning season for goliath grouper off the coast of Florida, and many are calling for a limited harvest of these large fish to be allowed in the state’s waters. According to the Miami Herald, the harvesting of goliath grouper has been banned since 1990 in an effort to restore the fish. Over two decades later, many commercial fishermen and recreational anglers say that the fish have rebounded, and are eating more than a fair amount of other fish.

For conservationists, the recovery of the goliath grouper is a complicated issue. The fish were in danger of disappearing altogether from Florida waters in the late 1980s. Now, the grouper has significantly recovered but no information exists from before the recovery effort to gauge stock size. Retired goliath grouper researcher Chris Koenig says that previous stock assessments amounted to essentially “guessing” and that it will be at least until 2015 for biologists to reach a conclusion on the grouper’s recovery.

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