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Goliath Grouper 2023 Harvest Lottery

Docked WagesDocked Wages Rockledge / BahamasPosts: 3,110 Moderator
Anyone interested in applying for this lottery? 

I was interested until I saw the slot limit of 24"-36" for $150 (plus the lottery application fee) per single fish. 

If the FWC is doing this for research (i.e. post harvest requirement to submit a fin clip for genetic analysis) open the lottery with the application fee but dont charge a profit of $150 to catch your research. 

If I go target one of these fish for $150, I want to target those big nuisance alpha males that dominate the lobster/diving reefs.   


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Applications for limited recreational harvest of goliath grouper in state waters open Oct. 15 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will soon accept applications for the first harvest of goliath grouper in state waters since 1990. Those interested can apply anytime from Oct. 15-30, 2022, for the upcoming 2023 season, which will be a highly regulated limited harvest. 

This unique recreational opportunity is possible through successful conservation efforts by state and federal agencies over the past three decades that aided goliath grouper population rebuilding following years of overfishing. The limited-entry harvest will allow additional access to a fishery that has been catch-and-release only since 1990 by issuing permits via random-draw lottery. The cost to apply is $10 plus fees and permit lottery applications will be available online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. 

Details for this limited, highly regulated harvest include:

  • Total recreational harvest of up to 200 goliath per year, with a maximum of 50 from Everglades National Park.
  • A goliath harvest permit and tag, issued via a random-draw lottery ($150 for residents, $500 for non-residents, plus fees) are required to participate. Permits and tags are non-transferable and no exemptions apply.
  • A limit of one fish per person per open season with permit and tag.
  • An open season from March 1 through May 31.
  • Hook-and-line as the only allowable gear.
  • A slot limit of 24-36 inches total length.
  • Post-harvest requirements including proper application of the tag, reporting harvest data and submitting a fin clip for genetic analysis.
  • Harvest will be permitted in all state waters except those of Martin County south through the Atlantic coast of the Keys, all of the St. Lucie River and its tributaries, and Dry Tortugas National Park.
  • Harvest will continue to be prohibited in federal waters. 

“The highly regulated, limited take of goliath grouper is an exciting and unique opportunity to provide access to this resource after decades of closure and we believe limited access is sustainable,” said FWC Commissioner Robert Spottswood. “We also look forward to collecting the post-harvest data to help guide future management decisions for this species.” 

This opportunity is intended to provide additional access to this fishery while balancing the values of various stakeholder groups. Adult goliath grouper will continue to be prohibited from harvest statewide as well as goliath in heavy dive ecotourism areas. This limited harvest is not intended to address fishing depredation concerns. 

For more information about the goliath grouper harvest permit and details on the permit lottery and eligibility requirements, visit our Goliath Grouper Harvest Permit webpage. For more information about goliath grouper regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations,” “Reef Fish” and “Goliath Grouper.”


Mark Wilson
USCG 100t Master, Assist Tow, 200nm Coastal
Marine Surveyor, SAMS, ABYC, IAMI, FMIU
Wilson Yacht Survey, Inc. 

Replies

  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 13,220 AG
    I'm not sure "stupid" adequately covers this
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,771 Captain
    You're right... stupid is totally inadequate to describe what they're up to this time (mostly I have nothing but praise for the efforts of the FWC - this time they've completely missed the boat... 

    Now, of course I'm wondering if anyone there will read this... If you're with the FWC and don't mind getting your ears a workout - call me and I'll be glad to explain... 

    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,805 Captain
    They don't get big without eating everything in their way. I'm referring to both govt and Goliaths.
  • drgibbydrgibby Posts: 1,938 Captain
    The analogy of "peeing in the ocean to change the level" comes to mind when I read this!
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    edited November 8 #6
    CaptJ said:
    They don't get big without eating everything in their way. I'm referring to both govt and Goliaths.
    I'm aware this is at least partially a joke, but just to set the record straight on goliath feeding habits- the idea that they're vacuum-cleaning whatever swims in front of them on the reef is a big misconception. Eating snappers or most other fish that they'll take off our hooks is pretty much purely a rare and opportunistic feeding habit, the vast majority of their diet is made up of slow-moving invertebrates like crabs. AKA, stuff living around where they usually sit on the bottom that can't escape very easily. They barely ever eat most of the reef fish that anglers target when humans aren't dangling those fish in front of them and hampering their ability to escape. 

    Not to say that you were expressing this view, because I don't think you were, but I've talked with plenty of people who think the growth in goliath populations is some kind of genuine threat to the health of the reefs they live on. I don't like losing my yellowtails and mangs to the brown tax men any more than anyone else, but I also think there's some perspective missing from this discussion a lot of the time. Populations of big marine apex predators have been crashing across the board in the majority of ecosystems around the world for decades-- I don't mind the idea of a severely limited goliath grouper harvest like this one, but I think we need to keep in mind that their numbers aren't rising to some kind of unnatural level. Recovering to a natural baseline is gonna feel unnatural if we've only experienced a world where their numbers have been culled so low.

    https://borea.mnhn.fr/sites/default/files/pdfs/Artero et al 2015 (1).pdf
    https://thefishsite.com/articles/goliath-grouper-giant-of-the-reef
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 12,970 AG
    bigfinn35 said:
    CaptJ said:
    They don't get big without eating everything in their way. I'm referring to both govt and Goliaths.
    I'm aware this is at least partially a joke, but just to set the record straight on goliath feeding habits- the idea that they're vacuum-cleaning whatever swims in front of them on the reef is a big misconception. Eating snappers or most other fish that they'll take off our hooks is pretty much purely a rare and opportunistic feeding habit, the vast majority of their diet is made up of slow-moving invertebrates like crabs. AKA, stuff living around where they usually sit on the bottom that can't escape very easily. They barely ever eat most of the reef fish that anglers target when humans aren't dangling those fish in front of them and hampering their ability to escape. 

    Not to say that you were expressing this view, because I don't think you were, but I've talked with plenty of people who think the growth in goliath populations is some kind of genuine threat to the health of the reefs they live on. I don't like losing my yellowtails and mangs to the brown tax men any more than anyone else, but I also think there's some perspective missing from this discussion a lot of the time. Populations of big marine apex predators have been crashing across the board in the majority of ecosystems around the world for decades-- I don't mind the idea of a severely limited goliath grouper harvest like this one, but I think we need to keep in mind that their numbers aren't rising to some kind of unnatural level. Recovering to a natural baseline is gonna feel unnatural if we've only experienced a world where their numbers have been culled so low.

    https://borea.mnhn.fr/sites/default/files/pdfs/Artero et al 2015 (1).pdf
    https://thefishsite.com/articles/goliath-grouper-giant-of-the-reef
    like ARS
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    ANUMBER1 said:
    bigfinn35 said:
    CaptJ said:
    They don't get big without eating everything in their way. I'm referring to both govt and Goliaths.
    I'm aware this is at least partially a joke, but just to set the record straight on goliath feeding habits- the idea that they're vacuum-cleaning whatever swims in front of them on the reef is a big misconception. Eating snappers or most other fish that they'll take off our hooks is pretty much purely a rare and opportunistic feeding habit, the vast majority of their diet is made up of slow-moving invertebrates like crabs. AKA, stuff living around where they usually sit on the bottom that can't escape very easily. They barely ever eat most of the reef fish that anglers target when humans aren't dangling those fish in front of them and hampering their ability to escape. 

    Not to say that you were expressing this view, because I don't think you were, but I've talked with plenty of people who think the growth in goliath populations is some kind of genuine threat to the health of the reefs they live on. I don't like losing my yellowtails and mangs to the brown tax men any more than anyone else, but I also think there's some perspective missing from this discussion a lot of the time. Populations of big marine apex predators have been crashing across the board in the majority of ecosystems around the world for decades-- I don't mind the idea of a severely limited goliath grouper harvest like this one, but I think we need to keep in mind that their numbers aren't rising to some kind of unnatural level. Recovering to a natural baseline is gonna feel unnatural if we've only experienced a world where their numbers have been culled so low.

    https://borea.mnhn.fr/sites/default/files/pdfs/Artero et al 2015 (1).pdf
    https://thefishsite.com/articles/goliath-grouper-giant-of-the-reef
    like ARS
    which aspect do you mean?
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,771 Captain
    In my area - the coast of the Everglades.. juvenile goliath grouper are in great numbers (fish from 10 to 50lbs) in every river that drains into the coast as well as quite a few other areas around river mouths, etc.  When they move into a spot - that's the end of the fishing there for anything else, period.  I've had fish we've hooked on lures - speckled trout, redfish, snook (and everything else) eaten by them at the first opportunity.  They've been protected in these areas for many years now - while nothing else is being protected at all... Wish it weren't so - and if you've ever read any of my posts on this topic you'd realize that in my area we're pretty sure the FWC is clueless about the topic of juvenile goliath grouper.  Their current, almost non-existent opening is proof of this in my opinion.  By the way, what I've posted here I've also expressed in person in front of the commission a few years ago.... without the slightest response or any attention from their so-called researchers (where they're researching sure isn't in my area at all...).  Any day you choose, I'm pretty sure we could wear out two anglers fishing nothing but juvenile goliath grouper in my area - they'll eat any live bait (and fresh dead cut bait) you'd care to drop in front of them....

    The last time there was any drop in our local goliath population was more than ten years ago now - when a killing cold hit all of south Florida and lasted for a week or more.   Pretty sure that all of the juvenile goliath died in that event in the interior of the 'glades since after that event it was at least five years before we began encountering them again.  At this point they're a nuisance and things are fairly out of balance in my opinion.  This is a statement I've made on more than one internet site these past five years - with my name and phone number prominently attached - and not one contact from anyone at the FWC about this situation... Heck, way back when folks "up north" re-named the jewfish into the goliath grouper no one asked any locals at all if there were a better, more commonly used name, either.  If they had they'd have been told that folks in the 'glades had been calling them mangrove grouper for many, many years...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    edited November 14 #10
    Bob, having read your posts for a while I'd fully believe you in terms of how many juveniles you're seeing in the Glades. I'd also believe you that the FWC hasn't done much to differentiate their rulings regarding juveniles, but I'd charitably suspect that that's more to do with a lack of funding to do a proper stock assessment on them there. Where I'd push back is the idea that this is out of balance- human activity has thrown our ecosystems so far from any kind of natural baseline that even determining where that baseline lies is a massive ongoing debate in marine ecology. As I said in the previous post, it's not like these fish are actively chasing down trout/reds/snapper/snook as part of their normal diet. It's way less energy-intensive for them to eat the slow-moving species that are all over the bottom, which is reflected in the diet studies I linked. Us fishermen get a very biased sample when it comes to observing their feeding behavior, since we're presenting them with a very easy-to-notice and stressed fish whose movement is greatly hampered. 
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • Mackeral SnatcherMackeral Snatcher Posts: 13,220 AG
    Yep,
    Put a steak in front of me and I'm gonna eat it
    THERE SHOULD BE NO COMMERCIAL FISHING ALLOWED FOR ANY SPECIES THAT IS CONSIDERED OVERFISHED.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,771 Captain
    My biggest concern is the way they displace other species... Yes, I've always noted that any goliath I handle is very likely to regurgitate lots of crab bodies (but I wonder if that might be a bit mis-leading since those crab shells can last a long time in their stomachs... ).
    I never want to see any commercial fishery for them again (they're too easy to target and kill with powerheads..) - particularly the big breeders.  Allowing a one fish per vessel per day opening, with their biologists setting the slot size makes a lot of sense to me - and that's what I've proposed for years now... 

    By the way, another example of the commission's neglect of my area is that we have a viable winter gag grouper fishery in the rivers of the 'glades (and cold weather is the only time they're around..). The Commission in closing that fishery on 1 January each year effectively shuts it down - and they're just not around any other time of year.  I'm certain the closure benefits the vast majority of gags - particularly along the central and northern gulf coast - but we have gags up to 30" and more and they're off-limits for us.  From what I've read I doubt anyone else in the state has a viable inshore gag grouper population.... and so it goes.

    By the way, as far as lack of funds goes - I'd never ask for a penny while showing researchers exactly what's going on in my area... I was paid when I worked with Mote Marine when they were researching sawfish - but for the goliaths I'd be a volunteer... 
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    I'd definitely agree that our fisheries need far more granular management. When you look at how Alaska manages each individual river's watershed and major bays differently, just having Gulf vs Atlantic regs in Florida is pretty lackluster. The Glades certainly are unique compared to most other major estuaries in that state. I'm not necessarily opposed to re-opening the fishery for goliaths to a limited degree either, but the most vocal people on the subject I've spoken with don't have nearly as many reservations about commercial harvest as you, Bob. The funding for a full stock assessment that would normally be required probably isn't the top priority, since there's a lot more involved in that than with something like sawfish research. Local data from guides is useful for a ton of different kinds of studies, but (to my knowledge) there's a lot more involved when assessing a potential new fisheries stock. 

    You've definitely piqued my interest in trying to study populations down there in the future. I'm merely a marine bio PhD student at the moment, but my dissertation isn't too irrelevant to the topic at hand. Might try and talk to people I worked with at Mote and see if there's any feasibility. Groupers have always been top of my list for species to study.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,771 Captain
    This pic was taken yesterday, 17 November, when we caught and carefully released four up to 25lbs at the same spot in about 25 or 30 minutes....

    I've never needed more than four or five spots to fish them any time we want.  They're everywhere from the coastline back up into the rivers that drain the interior... and even up inside the big bays... Any time they show up at a big snook spot... You'll never see another snook there... Wish it weren't so... 

    As noted previously - we're over-run with them... For anyone encountering a goliath of any size (and they do get really big...) -all of their fins... are rounded - unlike most other groupers - and as they get bigger those prominent black bars will fade away leaving the fish tan to light brown overall.

    I worked for folks at Mote Marine ten to fifteen years ago on two different projects... their sawfish research (that lead to the sawfish posted onto the Endangered Species list)  and a tagging program for juvenile blacktip sharks along the coast of the Everglades....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 2,982 Captain
    This pic was taken yesterday, 17 November, when we caught and carefully released four up to 25lbs at the same spot in about 25 or 30 minutes....

    I've never needed more than four or five spots to fish them any time we want.  They're everywhere from the coastline back up into the rivers that drain the interior... and even up inside the big bays... Any time they show up at a big snook spot... You'll never see another snook there... Wish it weren't so... 

    As noted previously - we're over-run with them... For anyone encountering a goliath of any size (and they do get really big...) -all of their fins... are rounded - unlike most other groupers - and as they get bigger those prominent black bars will fade away leaving the fish tan to light brown overall.

    I worked for folks at Mote Marine ten to fifteen years ago on two different projects... their sawfish research (that lead to the sawfish posted onto the Endangered Species list)  and a tagging program for juvenile blacktip sharks along the coast of the Everglades....
    Cool colors. I bet they’re a solid backup plan to keep clients happy. 
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,805 Captain
    I've kept saltwater predator tanks for 30 years and have observed that groupers of all species will eat anything they can get their mouth around even if they are well fed. I've seen Goliaths catch a hooked Bonita trying to escape. They can't get to 500# without eating fish.
  • bigfinn35bigfinn35 Sarasota/VenicePosts: 1,148 Officer
    edited December 1 #17
    Thing is though, both those examples involve the prey fish being in an enclosed space or having their movement hampered pretty severely. Not to say that goliaths never eat fish in the wild, but all the evidence we have on their natural feeding habits indicates that fish are a tiny minority of their diet. Mako sharks are barely able to chase down tunas and other fast pelagic fish, no way a goliath is donna be doing the same thing regularly. We as fishermen have a pretty biased picture of their diet if we only consider what we see while fishing, or in enclosed environments.
    Paddle faster, I hear banjo music.
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