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Petition: protect goliath groupers!


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#21 Rocha

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 11:58 AM

Hi Walt,

I consider myself a conservationist and Goliath Groupers are one of my favorite fish when diving in Florida.

However, after living and diving for many years in the lower Keys, the "big picture" would have to include a study on the impact of continuing to protect an apex predator combined with added pressures on other species.

Years ago the GG's declined severely and their protection did an excellent job of bringing them back. I don't think a limited collection would be the end of the world for a couple of reasons.

First, their numbers have increased significantly.

Second, they do have a dramatic impact on the reefs where they live.

There is a definite decline in the number of fish on a reef when you have multiple resident GG's move in. This is not a hypothesis, I have seen it first hand on a couple of favorite dive spots.

Years ago fishermen were not harvesting GG's and the reefs did just fine, but there was also not a massive harvesting of other game fish at the same time.

A continued complete protection of such an apex predator might have a negative impact on other game fish species because of the added pressure from fishermen.

Having witnessed the rise in GG population for years and the related impact on the rest of the reef, I would never sign a petition against harvesting 400 fish. If it was a complete lifting of protection, count me in because GG's are just too voracious, inquisitive and friendly to survive on their own against fishermen.


So, I like analogies, let's assume the decline in small fish is because of the GG's protection (again stressing, like Walt did, that there is no scientific support for that). Now let's make an analogy, just follow my line of thought:

1. Lions are critically endangered.
2. People protect lions.
3. People start competing with lions for prey (impalas, zebras, etc).
4. Prey populations decline.
5. Hunt lions?

I think #5 is wrong. To me, the way to fix #4 in the above chain of events is to protect the prey, not hunt the predator.

Luiz Rocha - www.luizrocha.com
Nikon D800, Aquatica AD800, Ikelite strobes.


#22 .Greg

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 02:49 PM

I think #5 is wrong. To me, the way to fix #4 in the above chain of events is to protect the prey, not hunt the predator.


Thank you Rocha, exactly my point.

I am not saying hunt GG's, all I said was I would not personally sign a petition against 400. However, I don't live there now so I am not suggesting what anyone else does, just stating why I wouldn't based on the observations I made.

If you are going to continue to protect the GG's now that they seem to be doing better (at least where I was), then please do some studies on their impact of their prey combined with the added pressure of recreational and commercial fishing. And if that study points to increasing fishing restrictions on other species, then please do so.

If you made the entire state of Florida catch and release only for all species that would be fine by me.

I am not a fisherman and I don't even eat fish. Anyone who eats seafood is contributing to the problem by increasing demand.

I am not a fanatical tree hugger so anyone who wants to eat fish, knock yourself out, just letting you know why I don't.

Walt, sorry, but you misunderstood my point about private spots. I did not imply I knew of any secret honey holes with GG's. Anybody with a little bit of time can ride around and see where people are are anchored, especially locals or tour guides, and come back to the spots later.

By private spot I meant they do not receive even a small fraction of the fishing pressure that more accessible spots like bridges and channels receive. From your comment it also sounds as if you think I am referring to the GG, I am not, I was referring to the prey fish: crevalle, snappers, grunts, etc.

#23 Rocha

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:40 AM

I am not a fisherman and I don't even eat fish. Anyone who eats seafood is contributing to the problem by increasing demand.


Good point, what people don't realize too is that there is a lot of "good" fish out there. Tilapia is wonderful :uwphotog: I would take tilapia over grouper any day.

This is however a delicate question. Now that everyone and their dogs have fishing poles and boats, it came to a point where recreational fishing is doing more damage than commercial fishing. But regulations are still years old...

Luiz Rocha - www.luizrocha.com
Nikon D800, Aquatica AD800, Ikelite strobes.