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.
(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).
Stakeholder survey: An internet-based survey of diverse stakeholders’ views and experiences regarding goliath grouper and its management (May 2013).
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).
Presentation of outcomes of the survey and stakeholder workshop to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (June 2013, Pensacola) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (September 2014, Orlando).
Evaluation of stakeholder views on this engagement process (Fall 2013).
Stakeholder survey and workshop overview report (June 2013)
Presentation to the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council (Reef Fisheries Committee, June 2013)
Presentation to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (Commission Meeting, September 2014)
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
IUCN Red List Entry
Endangered Species Research theme issue on goliath grouper
Project team and contacts
The project was 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 was funded by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
For general inquiries about this project, please contact Dr. Kai Lorenzen (Email: email@example.com).