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Old 07-05-2017, 09:48 AM   #1
SpearMax
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Arrow Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18, 2017

Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18, 2017

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has scheduled an additional public workshop, to be held July 31 in Lake Worth, to gather public input on goliath grouper management, including the possibility of a limited harvest in Florida state waters.

Fifteen workshops are scheduled in total across the state in August and October, including the July 31 event. Share your input and learn more about the current status of goliath grouper by attending one of these workshops.

Workshops will be from 5 to 8 p.m. local time:

July 31: Lake Worth, Lantana Road Branch Library, 4020 Lantana Road.

Aug. 1: Key West, Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel, 3841 N. Roosevelt Blvd.

Aug. 2: Marathon, Hyatt Place Marathon/Florida Keys, 1996 Overseas Highway.

Aug. 3: Key Largo, Murray Nelson Government Center, 102050 Overseas Highway.

Aug. 8: Crystal River, Plantation on Crystal River, 9301 W. Fort Island Trail.

Aug. 9: Carrabelle, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, 201 NW Ave. F.

Aug 16: Pensacola, Sanders Beach – Corinne Jones Resource Center, 913 S. I St.

Aug. 17: Panama City, Bland Conference Center, 4750 Collegiate Drive.

Oct. 9: Jacksonville, Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd.

Oct. 10: Titusville, American Police Hall of Fame & Museum, 6350 Horizon Drive.

Oct. 11: Stuart, Flagler Place, 201 SW Flagler Ave.

Oct. 12: Davie, Old Davie School Historical Museum, 6650 Griffin Road.

Oct. 16: Pinellas Park, Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure, 9501 U.S. Highway 19 N.

Oct. 17: Port Charlotte, The Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St.

Oct. 18: Naples, Collier County Public Library - South Regional, 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway.

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Old 07-05-2017, 04:23 PM   #2
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

yay
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Old 07-11-2017, 03:10 PM   #3
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

I plan on attending the one in Crystal River. Hope to see you there to project a louder voice.
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:22 PM   #4
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

I just hope they don't allow spear harvest. Let the ham and eggers get all the bad press.... we don't need that kind of attention.
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:13 PM   #5
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmoose View Post
I just hope they don't allow spear harvest. Let the ham and eggers get all the bad press.... we don't need that kind of attention.
I don't think I'd eat them anyway after reading this latest article in DAN's alert diver magazine... Who knew they spent so much time with the pollution.

http://www.alertdiver.com/High_on_Mercury

Of course the author could be pushing an agenda... ya never know what to believe in the media these days. I expect DAN to be straightforward with the facts.
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Old 07-11-2017, 11:28 PM   #6
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

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Originally Posted by CuzzA View Post
I don't think I'd eat them anyway after reading this latest article in DAN's alert diver magazine... Who knew they spent so much time with the pollution.

http://www.alertdiver.com/High_on_Mercury

Of course the author could be pushing an agenda... ya never know what to believe in the media these days. I expect DAN to be straightforward with the facts.
You might want to do some checking. When I looked at this issue a few years ago, the claim that the GG were not safe due Hg was made, but..... the average and median levels of the Hg were a good bit higher in black grouper.

Black grouper is a very important commercial and recreational fish and we don't see similar claims being made.

As best I can tell... the opposition to a harvest has changed over the years to reflect changing realities and politics.

For quite a while, it was argued that the population was too small and all the observations we make of hundreds of individuals is only anecdotal.

As the population continued to grow and everyone see these fish on almost all large structures in Florida... the opposition morphed into an eco-tourism argument. "the fish are more valuable alive than dead" , they will be slaughtered during aggregations and hunting will upset the breeding .....

Of course, I don't think anyone really believes that any harvest will occur during the well documented aggregation period. (so that argument kinda falls away). Plus an initial harvest could be very limited, well regulated and also the source of funds for species specific research - if there was a willingness for this to occur.

So the most recent opposition has been the high mercury content theme, but this information needs to be put into context with other species. Also, since the Hg accumulates over time, one solution might be to limit harvest to smaller individuals.

Trophic studies indicate that GG are NOT apex predators, so the bio-accumulation might not be that different than other fish in the same area.

We have also heard one individual claim something along the lines of "the population can not sustain any legal harvest because the existing illegal harvest - poaching is too prevalent currently". Not sure if that hypothesis has ever been validated and I assume it would be difficult to collect good information on it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 06:09 PM   #7
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

Would be interested to know at what tissue level that is being examined to find hg. I heard if you stay away from belly meat, you are to some degree , less exposed. Any feed back on this??
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:51 PM   #8
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

I attended the meeting today in Lantana (Palm Beach County), Attendance was good with probably 100 plus people and an overwhelming majority were tree hugging divers who were strongly against ANY harvest of any type.

There seemed to be very few fisherman and even less spearfisherman, zero individuals identifed themselves as commercial fisherman and I found the FWC presentation to be quite biased against the take of GG.

There was basically two options, continued complete ban or a limited tag system take of 100 fish per year for 4 years with an attempt to collect biological data and funds from a harvest (should one be approved). It was clear that this was a state proposal and would only be applicable to State waters.

The last third of the meeting was an interactive poll conducted of the audience using electronic "clickers" to vote on various multiple choice questions, with the resulting polling data displayed immediately after each question. About 80% of the people were recreational divers, about 80% were against any harvest and one lady held up a picture of her favorite "pet" jewfish (who she had named). This was a clear crowd pleaser and generated a good bit of applause. They made an emotional plea not to kill her pet.

It is almost laughable, when you consider that one of FWC's objectives is to promote the activity of fishing and hunting.

We heard crap from the audience indicating that there are no more jewfish than there were 15 or 20 years ago, that there are NO jewfish present on any of the reefs (except for the spawning period) and assertions that lionfish are a terrible threat to the reef and jewfish control them, so we must not remove any jewfish.

The FWC proposal was a limited take with a slot size, 100 tags sold per year, a season closure to correspond to the spawning cycle and a ban on fishing in the vicinity of spawning aggregations which were identified on their graphics.

Nobody could explain why you would prevent fishing near a spawning aggregation site, when the aggregation was not present. Plus the logistics of finding all the sites, and identifying them and then enforcing the geographic restrictions seemed impractical and poorly thought out. A seasonal closure is simple, easy and effective to protect the actual spawning events - a no brainer... but a geographic closure over multiple sites is something entirely different.

We also heard that people would pay hundreds of dollars to see a jewfish one time, so this was extrapolated to a grouper being worth many thousands of dollars alive (and very little dead). Of course we all know that taking 100 jewfish from the entire state of Florida would be undetectable relative to the populations and would not preclude the tourist diving opportunities.

It is interesting to note that the proposed means of take would be hook and line and NO SPEARING and when asked why, they mumbled something about "not sporting" etc.

I found the theme quite biased, with the staff representing the fish as "slow growing" when the fish were reported to reach sexual maturity in just 3-6 years.

There was also a big deal made about determining the maximum possible age of a jewfish, with the oldest reported as 37 years or something... They didn't really explain how or why the potential that the fish could live to be 50 years old made a big difference in the population, but they seemed to latch on to this issue as critically important.. Of course their proposal to allow a slot size harvest would potentially provide age data from ear bones, but probably wouldn't capture the oldest fish - since the slot size was not near as big as we commonly see the fish.

There was also some discussion of mercury content, but data was presented in a very superficial, biased manner and no attempt was made to compare the data with published data from other species. The crowd was quite convinced that jewfish were poisonous to eat - so why kill them .. "you savages" LOL. We even heard that the jewfish meat generated from the recreational harvest would end up in the commercial fish markets and poison the unsuspecting public with mis-labeled meat laden with huge concentrations of methylmercury.

You fisherman or spearos who think it might make sense to thin the heard -- need to make your voices known. The sentiment was overwhelmingly anti-harvest.

Last edited by jfjf; 07-31-2017 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:22 PM   #9
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

Thanks for the update Jim. I'm not surprised so few anglers and spearos showed up. 100 tags a year is hardly something to get excited about. Not surprised to hear about the ignorance being spewed at one of these meetings either.

I often wonder if it's worthwhile to engage the government in these discussions. They likely have already made up their mind and are just going through the motions with these public hearings.

I get it though, if no one shows up, we have no voice. Unfortunately I believe it's rare for decisions to be made based on science. We can look to the NMFS and the NOAA for all the proof we need in that regard.
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:41 PM   #10
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

Yes the whole decision is VERY political. the environmental groups understand this and they definitely don't want a harvest of this species EVER. I personally think it would be a big deal to open the fishery back up and would be an indication that consumptive use has some weight in the regulatory environment.

There is a strong push to make a huge portions of our state a no take zone and opening up jewfish would be inconsistent with that effort. How do you close down the entire reef if your regulators just said this very conspicuous component of the ecosystem has made a huge rebound?

I think it makes sense to make your opinion heard.
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Old 08-03-2017, 08:15 AM   #11
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

Anyone from the keys attend the meeting?
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Old 08-15-2017, 02:32 PM   #12
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Re: Goliath grouper workshops scheduled in Florida from July 31, 2017 to October 18,

As to the question of whether spearfisherman or fisherman ought to actually consider the mercury levels of Goliaths...here is what the Marine Biologist Chris Koenig suggests people watch... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihFkyPv1jtU
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