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Florida could lift 30-year ban on catching goliath grouper

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Posted at 10:04 AM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 10:06:21-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is proposing to lift its three-decade ban on catching and killing goliath groupers after wildlife officials argued their numbers have rebounded.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved a draft proposal on Wednesday to allow the recreational harvest of 200 goliaths per year from March to May. South Florida and the Florida Keys will be off limits, and the size of the catch would be kept between 20 inches (51 centimeters) and 36 inches (91 centimeters).

Agency spokeswoman Amanda Nalley says the proposal remains tentative until a second vote in March 2022, and probably would not effect until 2023.

Meanwhile, the agency continues to gather public comments. The goliath almost died off in the 1980s from overfishing and pollution and can't be caught in any other state or federal waters.