Goliath Grouper found not guilty of pilfering lobster stocks.
Some fishermen have blamed the increase in the Goliath Grouper population for the decline of spiny lobster in Florida waters. But a new study finds this is not true.
The study “Should the Critically Endangered Goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara be culled in Florida”, analyzed fisheries landing data since the 1950s, diver based surveys and published dietary studies. It concludes Goliath Groupers eat invertebrates (worms, molluscs and crustaceans) and poisonous fish, not snappers and other groupers. Many of the prey items consumed by Goliath Groupers are in turn predators of juvenile spiny lobster. Therefore, Goliath Groupers may be a fishermen’s ally, because through top-down predator control, goliaths could allow more juvenile lobsters to survive.
The recovery of the Goliath Grouper population in is not the cause for declining lobster and snapper stocks in Florida. Instead, overfishing is the main cause.
The full scientific article ia available online a: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=ORX