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Old 06-15-2004, 01:55 PM   #1
Dive4Blood
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Thumbs up Interested In A Limited Goliath Grouper Harvest? Here's How We Get One.

A fellow dive club member just called me last week about an acquaintance he has with a very high ranking official in the FWC. In their conversations, this person has expressed the desire to get diver-based info on goliath grouper populations, and behavior around the state. He wants to take this info to form a springboard for a very possible limited harvest sometime in the near future.

I just got off the phone with this gentleman today, and although he declined that he be identified due to not wanting to get barraged with phone calls/emails, he is very interested in what we have to say. Ultimately, both he, and several other key personnel would like for a limited harvest along the lines of the alligator lottery to occur. A limited number of kill tags would be given out to those that apply, and for a fee would allow that fisherman to harvest a goliath. This is provided that the fisherman report the info regarding the catch, and surrender the filleted carcass for scientific study.

What he asking is for anecdotal info, photos, and video. Please reply on this thread in non-inflammatory manner, and provide your feedback. I am going to email him the link to this thread so that he, and his associates at the FWC may read, and see. They want to know:
*Where are you seeing them
*How many
*What size
*Their behaviors especially if they are aggressive
*What you have seen them eat
*If you have seen increase in their populations
*Anything else pertinent to determining whether a limited harvest can work.

Let's represent our spearfishing community, and flex our muscle in a constructive way. Thanks.

AJ Suarez

Last edited by Dive4Blood; 06-15-2004 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 06-15-2004, 02:00 PM   #2
Dive4Blood
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If anyone has pictures or video please provide them. We all know how many words a picture is worth.
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Old 06-15-2004, 02:44 PM   #3
Denny
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AJ- This idea sure sounds farmiliar...Wait!! I know. It was my idea. And it is moving forward. Good to hear it from another perspective.
The Goliath harvest was discussed at the reef fish advisory panel meeting and also at the last Gulf Council Meeting.
The FRA is on it. Let's all put up some information here. When the time comes, I'll let you all know where to direct your emails and phone calls.
If you haven't joined the FRA, now is the time.
To review, the Fishing Rights Alliance is:
For moving the longlines out to 50 fathoms (at least)
For equal treatment of spearguns as fishing tackle
For the limited harvest of Goliath Grouper
Responsible for SAVING YOUR HOGFISH LIMITS
Against the EXTREME reduction of the bag limit for Red grouper due to its disproportionate impact on recreational anglers.

JOIN THE FRA TODAY!!!
Join the Fishing Rights Alliance
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Old 06-15-2004, 02:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dive4Blood
If anyone has pictures or video please provide them. We all know how many words a picture is worth.
AJ,

I'm headed to the Roatan Express and Fantastico wrecks this weekend. My camera won't go to 180 on the RE and but I'll get some pics for you on the Fantastico. The last time I dove it (last October), we had at the LEAST 50 GGs hanging around. Those things intimidate me more than sharks, especially the ones over 300 lbs.
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Old 06-15-2004, 03:43 PM   #5
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Brian, I was out there a couple of weeks ago and they are loaded on the deck of that ship. They are huge! They did not give us any problem, but we were mainly shooting on the other side of the ship where we did not see any goliaths. (Ship is on it's side).
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Old 06-17-2004, 10:01 AM   #6
Dive4Blood
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Pretty *****ing pathethic!! All I read day in and day out on SB is people bitching, whining, and moaning about goliath grouper stealing their fish, attacking them, making their lives miserable, and how they need to be harvested. Then, when this thread gets posted at the behest of some high ranking officials in the law enforcement division of the FWC who proactively want to get info from divers to begin formulating a case for a limited harvest it only gets 100 views! In two days!! All the while the hot topic on SB is whether we'd look at Britney's goods if she were laying unconscious on an operating table.

Denny, I don't envy the work you do with the FRA with the apparent apathy going on here.

AJ Suarez
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Old 06-17-2004, 01:49 PM   #7
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AJ,
Apathy in the diving community and the fishing community are why longliners are still coming in with 24 THOUSAND POUND grouper trips while you and I will soon be allowed only 2 red grouper per person per day.
Apathy is the reason we are only allowed one Amberjack per person per day.
Apathy may be the reason MPA’s are being shoved down our throats.
Apathy is the reason Goliath Grouper are on nearly every ledge and wreck in the Gulf of Mexico.
In fact, there are some VERY notable people on this very board who arent involved or are apathetic to the problems facing our sport. (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!)
Fortunately, not everybody chooses to turn away from the problems or say “someone else will take care of it”.
UN-fortunately there arent nearly enough of us.
If people would just realize that it doesn’t take that much effort to make a difference I think more people would get involved.
We have an organization looking out for us but how many of you have joined?!
It costs only 35.00 to make a difference!!! See WWW.THEFRA.ORG .
Now back to the subject.
Like I have said many times before, Goliath grouper are coming back in unprecedented numbers in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
They are being seen in places I have NEVER seen them before such as hard bottom areas and tiny little ledges.
They are being seen in ALL sizes which generally indicates healthy populations.
They are becoming more aggressive as they have learned that divers and fisherman can provide an easy food source.
My opinion as an experienced diver and observer is that they are disrupting the natural balance of the eco-system and there numbers need to be kept in check, much like the alligator population of Florida.
Just for the record, I do not dis-like Goliath Grouper and would never want to see them eliminated.
I think a 5-800 pound fish is one of the coolest things you can see underwater.
But, 20 5-800 pound fish inhabiting a small area is certainly not “cool”.
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Old 06-17-2004, 02:47 PM   #8
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I will make sure to make some mental notes while I am out tomorrow, and post here tomorrow night.

I could post up the obvious, there are a million of them on the pride and every other wreck, but I will have some very fresh, current observations tomorrow.
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Old 06-18-2004, 08:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by RichTaylor

In fact, there are some VERY notable people on this very board who arent involved or are apathetic to the problems facing our sport. (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!)
I don't know of anyone who is "VERY" notable on this board who is "apathetic" to the problems facing our sport. Instead of taking a blind stab at someone, call them out. Otherwise, it leaves people to guess who the high profile person is that doesn't care.

That is not to say I don't get your point. While I don't know of any apathetic people, I think some people stick their head in the dirt, hoping problems will go away. They need to be confronted and will not go away without the advocacy of a group like the FRA.

As to why I have not posted to this thread, I will say again that I think a plan of convincing regulatory agencies that goliath grouper are dangerous to spearfishermen gives them potential justification to restrict diving/spearfishing in some areas. This could be especially true if through junk science they find that GG have not recovered sufficiently, or do not pose a threat to the rest of the eco-system. They may become concerned that they are now exposed to liability when it is the spearfishermen themselves who argue: "These fish are dangerous!"

Consequently, I will not be posting stories of my own. Hopefully, that is not interpreted as apathy. Having said that, I will support the FRA in whatever strategy it takes with this, and as always encourgage everyone to get involved and become a member.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:10 AM   #10
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Scott, you have done more to promote and protect divers rights than most people could do in a lifetime. I have sent you a short list of notables who have not joined the FRA.
Instead of pointing fingers, I would rather more people just do the right thing without having to be kicked in the ass.
I dont need any more people pissed off at me.
Ill just ask everyone one simple question.
HAVE YOU JOINED THE FRA YET !!!

Last edited by RichTaylor; 06-18-2004 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 06-18-2004, 09:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scott
I don't know of anyone who is "VERY" notable on this board who is "apathetic" to the problems facing our sport. Instead of taking a blind stab at someone, call them out. Otherwise, it leaves people to guess who the high profile person is that doesn't care.
Here goes, Scott.
Rich's description of apathy is in reference to those who want the benefits of having a group fight a battle, without the individual being willing to stand up and be counted.
I, and the other FRA Directors and members are GRATEFUL for ALL the support we receive. When people purchase raffle tickets, they are helping with the costs involved in operating the FRA. Emails, phone calls and letters directed at regulatory officials are all expressions of support.
But when it comes time to actually JOIN the FRA, there is a boatload of apathy. I will not single out any one. That is not my style.
I WILL, however, share with you here some of my feelings:
There have been a few times when I wondered why the hell I am doing the FRA work; who really cares? When people can't or won't join the organization (is the cost too much? $35 is less than a new shaft!), in some of my darker moments I wonder WTF.

These moments are few and brief. I know what I am doing this for, and I will fight to my last breath for your and my rights. I am PROUD to represent the FRA membership in all of our fights.
The FRA has a group of DEDICATED INDIVIDUALS as the Board of Directors, not just me. I'd kill for any of them. Same goes for the members.
Ask yourself: Do I benefit from the work of the Fishing Rights Alliance? Do I support the FRA's efforts? Did I join the FRA?
If you answered yes to all three, THANK YOU FROM ALL OF THE FRA DIRECTORS AND MEMBERS!!! If the last question tripped you up, PLEASE JOIN THE FRA TODAY!!!
Even if it costs me everything I have (which aint much after the divorce), I will NOT STOP THE EFFORT.
dENNY
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Old 06-18-2004, 12:44 PM   #12
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Just the facts from our Lower Keys Gulf trip on 6/13/04

Commercial Spearfishing Trip
4 - divers
1 - driver
2 - man teams on each spot.

Each team did about 8 dives (Wrecks & Structure Bottom)
Dives ranged from 75 to 110 feet.
On each of my dives I saw no less than 5 Goliath Groupers and no more than 12. Ranging in size from 75 to 450 lb.

Although I didn't see any aggressive behavior or have any fish taken from me. I did have a 200 lb Goliath follow a 40 lb AJ to the top that I had shot well freediving above The B Team.

My team (The A Team) was placed on Wrecks that are alot less know than the Wrecks and Structures The B Team was sent down on. So the Goliath Groupers I saw seemed to be a little shy and stayed clear of me.

B Team Report.

I did not really ask but they reported seeing big GG's on every dive.
On a well known spot that sees alot of fishing & diving a diver said a large Goliath took a 30 lb Black grouper and his shaft. He said he grabbed the end of the shaft that was sticking out of the GG's mouth and pulled it out minus the 30lb Grouper.

The other diver said he had to push a large Goliath off his stringer several times before he gave it a little poke in the gills to fend it off.

Other than that we all freedove a large wreck in the shallows and I saw my first small Goliath (maybe 10LBs) hiding inside as the big boys patrolled the outside. Quit a site seeing a 450LB Goliath Grouper in 20 feet of water.

I don't know if the limited harvest area will reach the Keys or not, but if the "Powers That Be" are reading these post I hope they give this topic a good look.

I don't think taking 50 Goliath Grouper over the course of a year on a lottery system would even den the present GG population.
And of course I'm sure the dives on this board would not mind spending a few dollars for a limited harvest lottery ticket.

This weekend we plan to dive the Reef. So, I'll have another report on Monday or Tuesday.


Thank You,
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:40 PM   #13
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I'm thinking more like a thousand or so Goliaths a year. There are easily more than a hundred thousand big gols floating around. A 1% take aint even a drop in the bucket.
Get ready to hear some 'jewfish love' songs on this thread.
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:43 PM   #14
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Denny, I know you and Rich have both worked hard and are probably reaching a level of frustration that is justified. I am going to give people the benefit of the doubt and instead of calling them apathetic, I'll assume they are just misinformed.

So......let's inform them of all the FRA is doing!!

Do you guys realize that for a meazly $35 you have a represenative/advocate attending out-of-state counsel meetings and workshops? Without this representation, junk science proposed by those who oppose spearing fish would have been used to seriously weaken your rights. Your donation to the FRA really goes to work for you. It's the cost of one shaft!
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Old 06-18-2004, 01:57 PM   #15
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I am a member. I am also trying to get the word out to my club members. Why? Because it is important. I feel that my plate is full with work, kids, life, etc. I can't make these meetings and keep up with the issues. It is therefore important that I pay for someone to do it for me. People tell me all the time that if we just keep our mouth shut, no one will notice us and they will leave us alone. The only thing this leave us divers is OUT.

Freediving is becoming very popular and there is a growing number of guys hunting pelagics off of Louisiana. These guys have no clue that what they are doing is illegal. I just hope that when they realize this they will then throw some support towards these groups who are protecting their rights.

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