By Ellie Place, REEF Conservation Coordinator – Volunteer Fish Survey Project
|On Thursday, April 26, after considering more than three hours of stakeholder comments, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) ruled to continue the protection of the Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara) in Florida state waters.
The meeting addressed an April 2017 FWC proposal to open a limited harvest of the critically endangered species, in response to several stakeholder claims that Goliath Grouper populations had recovered in Florida after the 28 year moratorium on all harvest. 57 of 59 individuals and groups present at the meeting supported continuing to protect Goliath Grouper from harvest, while two individuals supported the opening of the fishery.
REEF’s publicly-accessible Fish Survey Project data were one of several sources of population data considered by the FWC, along with the comments from scientists, local universities, DEMA, Florida dive shops, and the general public…