The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will begin accepting applications for the second annual limited harvest season of goliath grouper in state waters. Those interested can apply anytime from Oct. 1-15, 2023, for the upcoming 2024 season.
This unique recreational opportunity is possible through successful conservation efforts by state and federal agencies over the past three decades that aided goliath grouper population rebuilding. Permits to participate in this limited-entry harvest will be awarded by a random-draw lottery. The cost to apply for the lottery is $10 plus fees and permit lottery applications will be available online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Details for this limited, highly regulated harvest include:
- Total recreational harvest of up to 200 goliath per year, with a maximum of 50 from Everglades National Park.
- A goliath harvest permit and tag, issued via a random-draw lottery ($150 for residents, $500 for non-residents, plus fees) are required to participate. Permits and tags are non-transferable and no exemptions apply.
- A limit of one fish per person per open season with permit and tag.
- An open season from March 1 through May 31.
- Hook-and-line is the only allowable gear.
- A slot limit of 24-36 inches total length.
- Post-harvest requirements include proper application of the tag, reporting harvest data, and submitting a fin clip for genetic analysis.
- Harvest will be permitted in all state waters except those of Martin County south through the Atlantic Coast of the Keys, all of the St. Lucie River and its tributaries, and Dry Tortugas National Park.
- Harvest will continue to be prohibited in federal waters.
This opportunity is intended to provide additional access to this fishery while balancing the values of various stakeholder groups. Adult goliath grouper will continue to be prohibited from harvest statewide as well as goliath in heavy dive ecotourism areas. This limited harvest is not intended to address fishing depredation concerns.
For more information about the goliath grouper harvest permit and details on the permit lottery and eligibility requirements, visit FWC’s Goliath Grouper Harvest Permit webpage. For more information about goliath grouper regulations, click here.