Thursday, November 29, 2018

Legislative Alert: Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Meeting Regarding Goliath Grouper

Meeting in St. Augustine, Florida, Also Includes Draft Rules for Shore Based Shark Fishing and Marine Life Harvest While Diving at the Blue Heron Bridge
A meeting of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and open to the public, will take place on December 12 and 13 at 8:30 am in St. Augustine, Florida.
The FWC Commission meeting will include a Staff review and discussion on the next steps for Goliath Grouper research and management. This presentation will include an overview of current and future Goliath Grouper research. Staff will present information on how recent events, such as Hurricane Irma and the 2018 red tide, have impacted Goliath Grouper. Staff will seek direction on adopting a management goal for Goliath Grouper in state waters.
You may recall that DEMA favors continuing the current moratorium on harvesting the Goliath Grouper. In the recent past, DEMA surveyed members of the Diving Industry and determined that 73% of divers responding favored continuing the moratorium.
DEMA’s President and CEO, Tom Ingram and Legislative Advocate, Bob Harris will be in attendance at this meeting to provide DEMA’s position to the Committee. YOUR public comments and input are also needed at this meeting; public comments opposed to lifting the moratorium could help prevent the future harvesting of this animal, which is slow to mature and reproduce.  There are substantial arguments against harvest, some of which can be foundhere.  Without your public comments, the status of the current moratorium could change in the near future allowing harvesting of the Goliath Grouper for the first time since 1990.  If you dive in Florida or live there, such a change in the moratorium status could impact your ability (and your customers’ ability) to see these animals.
This meeting will also include several Draft Rules important to the Florida Diving Industry; Draft Rules on Shore-based Shark Fishing, which has been shown to result in the killing of at-risk shark species such as the Great Hammerhead and Tiger, and Draft Rules on Marine Life Harvest at Blue Heron Bridge in Palm Beach County. 
The FWC meeting agenda and topics planned can be found on the FWC website here.
8:30 am
December 12 - 13, 2018
Renaissance World Golf Village 
500 South Legacy Trail 
St. Augustine, Florida 32092
The meetings are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on December 12 and 13, 2018.  However, as of this writing, the discussion of Goliath Grouper is scheduled for the afternoon of December 12.  Please note that the time and date of this discussion could change.
DEMA urges all professional members of the diving community to join DEMA in attending these meetings to offer public comment in favor of maintaining the current moratorium on harvest of the Goliath Grouper.  Public comments will be accepted at the end of each meeting day.  More diving community voices will be helpful. 
For those unable to attend or wishing to submit comments prior the beginning of the Committee meeting, send your written comments to

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