Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)
The harvest and possession of goliath grouper has been prohibited in both state and federal waters off Florida since 1990, when population levels were determined to be very low.
Since that time, there have been substantial increases in abundance in certain areas (e.g., Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands), and the distribution of goliath grouper populations has extended into areas of its former range throughout Florida, including the Big Bend and Panhandle regions.
The most recent stock assessment ( SEDAR 23, 2010 ) was completed in 2010. Although an independent review panel found the stock assessment to be inconclusive, data suggests goliath grouper could be recovered. However, goliath grouper are highly vulnerable to overfishing and more information about their life history, such as their maximum age, is needed to conclusively determine if they could withstand harvest pressure without jeopardizing the stock.
Visit the SEDAR website to learn more about the SEDAR process.