This past Wednesday, 6 October, despite much opposition from conservationists as well as local dive operators, the FWC took another step to repeal the law protecting goliath groupers(Epinephelus lanceolatus).
The law protecting this magnificent species of fish has been in place in Florida for 30 years. However, now it seems that the situation is about to change. Defenders of nature and the diving community. Especially for the latter group, the Itajara goliat is a real treasure. The fish is not only one of the biggest underwater attractions in Florida, but is also its a recognisable symbol.
Under the solution proposed by the FWC, 200 permits will be issued each year. Under the new rules, it will be possible to hunt juveniles of the species Epinephelus lanceolatus. The first hunts for goliath groupers are expected to start as early as 2023, and the hunting season will last from March to May.
In view of the relatively small number of permits available, they would be issued on the basis of a lottery system. Only fish between 50 and 90 cm in length could be hunted.
Permits will not authorize hunting in Palm Beach County, the Atlantic portion of the Floria Keys and Dry Tortugas National Park.
The FWC committee will revisit the issue of changes to the existing hunting ban at its next meeting at an undisclosed time. If approved, feedback will then need to be gathered. Once the data has been collected, a final public hearing will be held in March 2022.
Although the case appears to be well advanced,the diving community believes that ultimately the law protecting goliath gropers will be defended and the status quo maintained.
Photo: wikipedia.org CC BY-SA 3.0
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