Is It Time To Let Fishermen Keep Goliath Grouper Again? [POLL]

By: Joseph Simonds on December 12, 2016
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goliath grouper harvest rules

The Goliath Grouper… aka The Jewfish…

This behemoth fish that can no longer be harvested in Florida has many anglers, divers, and even ocean researchers questioning if we have protected them for too long.

With complete protection from humans and no real predators once they reach full-size (except for a few brave sharks), they seem to be taking over many of the reefs and wrecks in Florida.

Are we ready to open up the Goliath Grouper Season again?

goliath grouper on dock

Old school pic of some young men showing off their goliath grouper

Here are a few things we have been hearing from fellow anglers:

  • Some have said these protected groupers are getting out of control, eating everything in site.
  • Some have said that they are hurting the underwater ecosystem by overrunning many of the reefs and structure that would normally have all kinds of saltwater species.
  • And some have even gone as far to say the Goliath Grouper now associate boat motors with a “dinner bell” and they now come running to the boat ready to attack any and all hooked fish.

On the other hand, back in the day (prior to 1990 when it became illegal to harvest or possess Goliath Grouper in both state and federal water off Florida), the following issues happened:

goliath grouper poll

A group of men and their Goliath Grouper for the day. Note: Goliath Grouper are not afraid of men in Speedos either… (which proves these fish aren’t very smart).

  • Goliath grouper aren’t the smartest fish… Because they don’t fear many things in the ocean due to their size, they don’t fear divers and spearfishermen like other saltwater game fish do.
  • Because of this, it was incredibly easy for good spearfishermen to have a field day spearing Goliath’s prior to 1990.
  • Even though Goliath grouper are opportunistic predators, they have recently been seen as very aggressive fish when it comes to struggling fish on the end of a fishing line. Because of this, it also became easy for hook and line anglers to load up once they found a Goliath honey hole. They will keep on attacking any cut bait or hooked fish even after many of their friends get caught.
  • Without protection, these massive grouper saw populations drastically decline in the 70s and 80s due to increased pressure from commercial and recreations fishermen and divers.

Goliath Grouper Harvesting Poll

So what do you think?

Should anglers be able to harvest goliath grouper again?

Place your vote by clicking below now.

Related Post: “How To Make A Grouper Rig That Saves Time, Money, And The Environment” (watch it here now)

P.S. – If you think your fishing friends would like to weigh in on this Goliath Grouper harvesting poll, please Tag them or Share this with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

No! period.

Katie
Katie
2 years ago

According to the studies that I have read the fish that will be harvest size will not be edible. Goliaths that have reached an adult size have too much mercury in their flesh to be safe to consume. http://www.alertdiver.com/High_on_Mercury Symptoms of mercury poisoning are “acute ataxia (severe loss of coordination), numbness in the hands and feet, visual distortion, and temporary and even permanent hearing and speech impairments,insanity, paralysis and coma followed by death.”
The main complaint seems to be that this fish is eating everything on the reef. If you bother to go down where they live, you will see them surrounded by fish. Many videos and pictures online show this also. They steal fish off your line. Dolphin and shark do the same.
You can’t safely eat them and all studies (and pictures) show that they are not the reason why there aren’t as many fish as there used to be.
Be happy they are there for catch and release. Some fishermen out there are not as careful with them on the release and some are outright poaching them. In twenty years they might be gone when they ignore the majority of people going to the hearings and ok the harvest.

tracy
tracy
2 years ago

look at how well the lotto tag has worked with alligators, NOT!!! The alligators are still wayyyy too many.

Bob
Bob
3 years ago

As the Government issues a license for 1 Elk or 1 Moose, why not 1 Goliath per a short time period & the money to go to Fishing conservation but just to open it up to all would be the death nil for Goliath

joseph galea
3 years ago

I totally agree with Anthony Castaneira. Let nature run the show. Be sure that if the season were to be open we will drive the species down to red levels.

Glen
3 years ago

The only argument against, is that they might be eating lionfish.

Lauro Garza
3 years ago

No catch and release

Joe
Joe
3 years ago

Absolutely!

Richard Johnston
3 years ago

Yes, it is time to reopen Goliath grouper season again

Christopher Self
Christopher Self
3 years ago

I vote yes reopen the season with size limits and regulate it with a stamp much like lobster season.

Sean Ratterman
3 years ago

Yes…. reopen the Goliath grouper season with regulations and limits on how big and how many per person per day until we start to see decline again…?

Anthony
3 years ago

As a apex predator they are too susceptible to overfishing as we have seen.
There is no valid reason to open them up to harvest. They aren’t overpopulated.

Saptain 7
Saptain 7
3 years ago
Reply to  Anthony

Are you serious ???? D you even fish dude ??

Anthony
3 years ago
Reply to  Saptain 7

Yes. I also look at the peer reviewed studies and don’t rely on anecdotal evidence.

Larry hoce
3 years ago

Yes,reopen

Stephen Klott
3 years ago

Yes, it is time to reopen Goliath grouper season again

Benjamin knowles
3 years ago

Open a Goliath grouper season like they do the other groupers and have a slot size to keep the groupers . It will control the Jew fish population and not wipe out the fish like it did in the olden days. Keep it controlled and limited and the fish won’t be so over prowed.

BobH137
BobH137
3 years ago

Buy a lottery ticket for a Tag… limit number of tags, no back-to-back tag winners, if you win this year you sit out next year.
set a short season to harvest.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago
Reply to  BobH137

Agre

brian
brian
3 years ago

I believe that IF it is opened, protecting Young Goliath Groupers (especially the 30 pound and less ones in the Mangroves) must be a priority. Season timing for Harvest needs to be SHORT…. Rec Anglers (No Paid Guides/Paid Boats)… Limit of one above a large length (that equates to a fish over 275 pounds)….PER SEASON for that angler/boat… with a requirement that the fish be reported and possibly inspected prior to fileting….I would not object to limiting the retention of One Big Giant per year only to Florida Resident Anglers…

Adam
3 years ago

Personally, I would defer to the state and federal fishery management agencies. I’m not for or against, I just don’t know enough to make an informed decision right now. Florida’s FWC may have discussed this issue at a public meeting recently but I’m not sure. I would encourage everyone that wants to see a change to attend public meetings online or in person. Listen and learn about the issues, and send in comments. Tight lines!

Richard Devereaux
3 years ago

Five Common Myths About Goliath Grouper
http://www.teamorca.org/cfiles/goliath_myths.cfm#

What would a recreational angler do with a Goliath Grouper after it has been harvested?

Ken Johnston
3 years ago

I don’t fish offshore but I am a big believer in protecting the resource. Unfortunately, there are many among the fishing fraternity who will abuse a system with no limitations to size and number of fish that can be kept. I am a little disappointed in a lot of the posts on the Salt Strong site with significant numbers of reds, trout and snook being harvested by recreational fisherman. Catch and release needs to be practiced. Sure a few fish for a great dinner but that is not what a lot of the photos indicate is happening. Please Salt Strong, more catch and release recommendations from your great site.

Luke Simonds
Admin
3 years ago
Reply to  Ken Johnston

Hey Kenneth, I completely agree that the practice of catch and release is extremely important in preserving our fisheries for future generations.

I’m puzzled about your comment of significant numbers of reds, trout, and snook on our site that are being harvested by recreational anglers… a vast majority of fish posted on our site are catch and release: https://www.saltstrong.com/strong-angler.

I’ll make sure to put together another catch and release specific article to ensure that everyone knows the proper handling of fish that are to be released soon. Here’s one to check out and pass around in the meantime if you haven’t already seen it: https://www.saltstrong.com/articles/catch-and-release-fishing.

Ken Johnston
3 years ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

My apologies Luke. I looked back through your site’s photos and, yep, most were catch and release. Hey, I am 70 and apparently getting senile. Recovering from back surgery, I will blame it on the drugs. Love your site, haven’t had a chance to get into your Redfish course yet but it looks great. See you on the water.

Richard Devereaux
3 years ago
Reply to  Ken Johnston

Are Goliath Grouper over-populated? Is the current status of the Goliath Grouper detrimental to the fishery and the marine ecology in general? What would be the consequences to the “balance” within the fishery if Goliath Grouper harvest was resumed? Let’s see the data, studies and scientific assessment and summary before regulations are changed.

Maybe…the anecdotal comments and perceptions are accurate…maybe not. Maybe…the circumstances and situation surrounding the Goliath Grouper are the result of 1.) a reduced population of the Goliath Grouper’s natural predator(s) and/or 2.) loss of Goliath Grouper habitat, i.e., reefs due to ecological deterioration forcing the Goliath Grouper to be more concentrated. If that be the case then the fishery and the marine ecology have bigger and more challenges than the Goliath Grouper itself.

For those anglers who choose to practice “catch and release” that’s fine. For those anglers who choose to practice “catch and fillet” (as long as the catch is legal) that’s fine too. The regulatory agencies establish what’s legal. I don’t understand why any angler would be disappointed by other anglers who abide by harvest regulations.

What’s disappointing to me is to see posts/photos of anglers with under-slot and over-slot fish (that should be released) and anglers who say the catch was released showing the fish being poorly handled. Not all “catch and release” fish survive, and at least some of the “catch and release” fish that don’t survive are the result of anglers’ poor handling.

In my opinion SaltStrong has shown and makes an ongoing genuine and sincere effort to educate anglers about proper handling as well as conservation in general.

Capt John
3 years ago

Ithink 1 per year with a $50.00 tag to get revenue to help pay the FWC guys a little more salary

Brian Angle
3 years ago

I think Goliath grouper should open to recreational anglers only but with strict limitations similar to snook. Regulations like hook and line only, one per harvester per year, and a slot size limit would be a good start.

Bruce fink
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Angle

What about us spear fishermen we got to eat also !!!

Brian Angle
3 years ago
Reply to  Bruce fink

Grab a pole and stay dry!

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruce fink

what I would like to know is with you being a spearfisherman, is how are you able to tell size limits underwater?