Next week, the State of Florida will decide the goliath grouper’s fate. Since 1990, possessing or harvesting this fish has been prohibited by law.
After reviewing the available studies and reports, the PADI organization believes it is prudent to maintain the current “no-take” status quo until compelling evidence that the population has satisfactorily recovered to levels that would sustain harvesting is presented. The PADI organization believes it is premature to opening the fishery now because:
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s staff analysis indicates there is insufficient data to use detailed assessment methods, thus requiring more assumption-based (rather than data-based) assessments. 2011 Goliath Grouper presentation - page 9
In the required formal review of the State’s goliath grouper population assessment, the appointed independent scientific panel deemed the assessment was not suitable because of these data gaps. 2011 Goliath Grouper presentation - page 3
The Goliath Grouper study conducted by Florida State University’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis concluded, “The goliath grouper population remains critically endangered throughout its range, despite the bright spot of recovery in southwest Florida.” Goliath Grouper Study October 2009
The International Union for the Conversation of Nature (IUCN), the global species conservation authority, lists the goliath grouper as critically endangered
and recommends harvesting moratorium be maintained until scientific evidence of population rebuilding is confirmed. IUCN - Goliath Grouper
While the above will be the position the PADI organization will present to the Fish & Wildlife Commission, we also wish to know what you think by voting for one of the three options under consideration by the Commission (2011 Goliath Grouper presentation - pages 17-19):
__ Maintain the Status Quo – no harvest & manage for high ecotourism values
__ Tightly Regulated Harvest – limited recreational harvest & possible restricted harvest areas
__ More Liberal Harvest – less restrictive size & bag limits, consider commercial harvest
As stewards of our oceans, what action do you feel the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should take? Please take this short survey and let your voice be heard. Thank you.