Lorenzen Lab @ UF/IFAS

Goliath grouper management stakeholder project

Project aims
Project activities and timeline
Project outputs
How to get involved
Position statements received
Further information on goliath grouper
Project team



The goliath grouper, the largest grouper in the western Atlantic, has historically been overfished throughout its range and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List. In U.S. continental waters, a harvest moratorium for goliath has been in place since 1990. The moratorium has allowed the stock to recover substantially and goliath are now commonly encountered during fishing and diving activities off South Florida. Stakeholders are divided in their views on goliath population status and management, with some advocating a re-opening of the fishery to harvest and others arguing for continued, full protection. Moreover, scientific uncertainty surrounds both current stock status and the conservation implications of re-opening the fishery to harvest. Divergent views and high scientific uncertainty make it difficult for the management agencies to reach satisfactory decisions about the future of the goliath grouper fishery. In this situation, systematic exploration of stakeholder views and experiences and development of a shared understanding of management issues and options are particularly important.

Project aims

(1) To provide diverse stakeholders with opportunities to share their views and experiences regarding goliath grouper and its management

(2) To facilitate development of shared understanding of management issues and options among diverse stakeholders through interviews, surveys, and a project workshop.

(3) To provide management agencies (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fisheries Management Councils) with comprehensive and concise information about stakeholder views regarding goliath grouper and its management.

(4) To evaluate stakeholder views on the effectiveness of this process.

Project activities and timeline

Exploratory interviews: in-depth interviews with selected stakeholders to aid the design of the main stakeholder survey (Fall 2012-completed).

Stakeholder survey: An internet-based survey of diverse stakeholders’ views and experiences regarding goliath grouper and its management (May 2013 - completed).

Stakeholder workshop: A project workshop with about 20 invited representatives of diverse stakeholder groups, aimed at developing a shared understanding of management issues and options (May 2013-completed).

Presentation of outcomes of the survey and stakeholder workshop to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (October 2013) and the Gulf of Mexico (June 2013) and South Atlantic Fisheries Management Councils (September 2013).

Evaluation of stakeholder views on this engagement process (Fall 2013).

Project outputs

Stakeholder survey and workshop overview report (June 2013)

Presentation to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (Reef Fisheries Committee, June 2013)

How to get involved

Make a comment on project outputs: You may comment on project outputs via this COMMENT LINK. Comments received will be synthesized in subsequent outputs.

Stakeholder survey: The main stakeholder survey was open from May 3 to June 10, 2013. This survey is now closed.

Make a written submission: Individuals and organizations are invited to make written submissions that will be shared publicly. Make your submission by mail or email to: Dr. Kai Lorenzen, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, 7922 NW 71st Street, Gainesville, FL 32653. Email: klorenzen@ufl.edu.

Follow the project via this web portal and provide comments on outputs: Project outputs such as survey results, workshop reports and written submissions will be posted on this web portal as they become available. Click on this REGISTRATION LINK to register for email updates if you have not done so when completing the survey.

Position statements received

Position statement from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) PDF

Links to further information on Goliath grouper (external websites)

Florida Sea Grant goliath grouper factsheet
Florida Museum of Natural History goliath grouper page
NOAA goliath grouper research
Florida FWC goliath grouper research
Goliath grouper page of the Coleman/Koening Lab at FSU
Stock assessment
IUCN Red List Entry
Endangered Species Research theme issue on goliath grouper

Project team and contacts

The project is implemented by a University of Florida research and extension team comprising Dr. Kai Lorenzen (Professor of Fisheries Science, Principal Investigator); Dr. Martha Monroe (Professor of Environmental Education and Communication, Co-Principal Investigator); Joy Hazell (Lee County Sea Grant Agent, Workshop Lead Facilitator); Bryan Fluech (Collier County Sea Grant Agent, Workshop Facilitator) and Jessica Sutt (Fisheries and Environmental Education Graduate Student).

The project is funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

For general enquiries about this project, please contact Dr. Kai Lorenzen (Email: klorenzen@ufl.edu). 



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