Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Great Goliath Grouper Count Results

Back in June I blogged about the Great Goliath Grouper Count(GGGC) which is a Florida Sea Grant Extension Program pilot project conducted in collaboration with researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The goal was to provide a regional snapshot of goliath grouper size distribution and abundance on artificial reef sites where they are known to congregate throughout the region. It was also an opportunity to see if a sufficient number of trained volunteers could collect fundamental fisheries data in a short time frame that woud be beyond the scope of researchers working alone.

Last week Angela Collins, who is a researcher with FWC/FWRI presented the initial results of the GGGC with me and some of my colleagues. First off, I have to say, this program could not have happened without Angela's help. She developed the survey protocol for the event as well as the data analysis and interpretation.Overall she was extremely pleased with the results. Here are some of the outcomes. Please note that all graphs and maps were created by Angela Collins.

  • 52 volunteers surveyed 59 sites between Monroe and Pasco Counities (the majority were between Collier and Pinellas)
  • Surveys were completed between June 2 and June 13 with 52 (88%) of the sites surveyed within the first 5 days.
  • The range of depths surveyed was from 13-125ft. 43 sites were considered "shallow", meaning less than 20 m and 16sites were considered "deep", meanin greater than 20 m
  • The survey spanned approximately a 340km x 130km area
  • A minimum of 312 goliath groupers were observed
  • 86% (51/59) of sites had a least one GG on them.
  • The number of GGs on each site ranged from 0-16. (Only sites north of Sarasota had 0 GG counts)
  • The average number of goliaths observed per site was 5.3
  • Collier surveyed 8 sites and counted approximately 80 GGs
  • The avg number of GGs seen at Collier sites was approx 10
  • There was no direct trend between the number of GGs and depth of site. The numbers were all over
  • The largest numbers of GGs observed were on shipwrecks (~160) and pilings (~70) although the site with the hightest number of GGs on it was a tower off of Monore County (16)
  • As expected the majority of GGs (~180) were in the 3-5 foot range putting their age somewhere between 5 and 11 years old. The size range of goliaths looked like typical bell curve.

The true value of the effort will only be realized if it can be expanded and conducted in future years.
It must be stressed that the information provided by the recent goliath grouper count will be far from sufficient to answer the question of the present status of the stock. Instead it is hoped the results will provide one small piece of the overall puzzle, especially if the count can be conducted in future years. Thank you to all my volunteers, Angela Collins, and my colleagues who made this initial event a success!!! Looking forward to making the 2011 GGGC even better.

No comments:

Post a Comment