For the first time since 1990, recreational anglers fishing in some parts of Florida will be allowed to take home a goliath grouper for dinner.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted without dissent Wednesday to approve proposed new rules for a “highly regulated limited harvest” of the gentle giants. When final approval comes at its March 2022 meeting, harvest could begin as early as 2023.

The FWC made proposed the following rules to govern the recreational harvest:

  • The harvest of up to 200 goliath grouper per year, with harvest opportunities awarded via random-draw lottery with a maximum of one permit and tag per person per year
  • A lottery application fee of $10 and, if awarded, a permit fee of $500
  • A slot limit of 20-36 inches total length
  • Hook-and-line as the only allowable gear
  • An annual open harvest season of March 1 through May 31
  • Harvest allowed in all state waters except those of Palm Beach County south through the Atlantic coast of Monroe County
  • A requirement for participants to submit harvest and biological information.