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Goliath Fixed

This dedication to competition has a dark side. Goliaths are ferocious competitors, but above all else they are driven to outdo their past efforts. If a goliath slays a dragon, he or she might seek out a larger, more powerful wyrm to battle. Few goliath adventurers reach old age, as most die attempting to surpass their past accomplishments.


For goliaths, competition exists only when it is supported by a level playing field. Competition measures talent, dedication, and effort. Those factors determine survival in their home territory, not reliance on magic items, money, or other elements that can tip the balance one way or the other. Goliaths happily rely on such benefits, but they are careful to remember that such an advantage can always be lost. A goliath who relies too much on them can grow complacent, a recipe for disaster in the mountains.

A permanently injured goliath is still expected to pull his or her weight in the tribe. Typically, such a goliath dies attempting to keep up, or the goliath slips away in the night to seek the cold will of fate.

In some ways, the goliath drive to outdo themselves feeds into the grim inevitability of their decline and death. A goliath would much rather die in battle, at the peak of strength and skill, than endure the slow decay of old age. Few folk have ever meet an elderly goliath, and even those goliaths who have left their people grapple with the urge to give up their lives as their physical skills decay.

Because of their risk-taking, goliath tribes suffer from a chronic lack of the experience offered by long- term leaders. They hope for innate wisdom in their leadership, for they can rarely count on a wisdom grown with age.

Birth names are rarely linked to gender. Goliaths see females and males as equal in all things, and they find societies with roles divided by gender to be puzzling or worthy of mockery. To a goliath, the person who is best at a job should be the one tasked with doing it.

I'm currently in the middle of a game playing a goliath barbarian named Kar-Torin of Stomm (Tribe) Sur-Ta. He was heavily inspired by my favorite character of all time, Grog Strongjaw, and to be honest I've never enjoyed playing a character more in all my time playing Dungeons and Dragons.

The goliath grouper is the largest grouper species in the Atlantic Ocean weighing up to 800 pounds. They were once so overfished in the southeastern United States, they were considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The goliath grouper is found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs. Its range includes the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys in the United States, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, goliath grouper have been caught off the coast of New England in Massachusetts and Maine. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, goliath grouper are found off the coast of Africa from the Congo to Senegal.

Since 1990, the goliath grouper fishery has been closed to harvest throughout the southeast region of the United States (harvest was prohibited in the U.S. Caribbean in 1993). In 1991, it was listed as a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act, and later listed a species of concern. Because of the success of the harvest prohibition, it was removed from the species of concern list in 2006. However, the goliath grouper fishery is still closed to harvest by the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean fishery management councils.

Scientists from our Southeast Fisheries Science Center are working to understand the changes that have occurred in coral reef ecosystems following the loss of top predators, such as groupers. The once common Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) and goliath grouper (E. itajara) have been so depleted that they are under complete protection from the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean fishery management councils.

From 1997-2005, our researchers collaborated with Florida State University's Institute for Fishery Resource Ecology (Dr. Chris Koenig and Dr. Felicia Coleman) to monitor the status and recovery of goliath grouper. This goliath grouper research program investigated juvenile and adult jewfish abundance, distribution and migration patterns; their age and growth; and their habitat utilization. Research was conducted in the Ten Thousand Islands area of southwest Florida and in the offshore waters of the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic. Florida State University investigations on goliath grouper continue.

Our offshore work on adult jewfish has been conducted each summer/fall spawning period since 1994. With the help of Don DeMaria we have tagged over 1,000 adult jewfish and have observed aggregations of goliath grouper in both the Gulf of Mexico and more recently, the South Atlantic.

Posters created by the Center of Marine Conservation help disseminate information about our project and its requirements, highlighting our tagging study and the morphology of goliath grouper. The posters also have information on our tagging hotline so anglers and divers can call in any recapture or re-sighting information.

Given that these groupers were afforded protected status, researchers worked to utilize and develop novel non-lethal techniques to procure and analyze biological samples for life history information. Recent analysis by biologists at both of our Miami and Panama City laboratories, for example, have determined that dorsal spines can be used to effectively age juvenile goliath groupers (age 0-6), instead of using otoliths (which require sacrificing the fish (Brusher and Schull, 2008). Researchers have also determined that soft dorsal rays hold promise for ageing older fish (Murie et al, 2008).

Our researchers were also the first to capture recently settled juvenile goliath grouper, describe their settlement habitat, and determine ages of these very young fish, which helps us learn about when and where the adults are spawning (Koenig et al, 2007; Lara et al, 2008).

In 2003 and 2005, significant red tide events occurred in Lee and Collier Counties of Southwest Florida. Reports of manatee and turtle strandings began pouring into local and state agencies in the region, along with reports of large fish washing up dead on southwest Florida beaches. Once these large fish were positively identified as goliath grouper, a team of biologists from our Southeast Fisheries Science Center went in search of these fish, to collect biological samples, especially otoliths (ear bones), which are valuable for determining the age of the fish. Because of the fish's protected status, researchers attempt to harm/kill as few goliaths as possible during the course of research. However, because of this, researchers lack otolith samples which are the most commonly used structure to determine the age of the fish.

These casualties, resulting from red tide, gave our biologists a unique opportunity to collect a multitude of biological samples, without having to sacrifice healthy animals. From these decomposing carcasses, biologists were able to record length for use in an age/length relationship, and were able to extract otoliths and remove dorsal spines and rays for comparison of hardparts in age and growth analysis. Tissue samples were also removed and sent to the Florida Marine Research Institute so they could evaluate the level of red tide toxin. The sampling trip gave these biologists an opportunity to educate the curious beach goers about red tide and goliath grouper (a few of which had been misidentified as baby manatees).

Attempts to evaluate the data needed to assess the status of these depleted stocks and develop rebuilding plans present unique challenges. In March 2003, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center convened a Stock Assessment Workshop, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Under the new South East Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) protocol, scientists, constituents, and managers evaluated the data available for a goliath grouper stock assessment. The final stock assessment, released in 2004, demonstrated that the goliath grouper stock was recovering, but that full recovery to management targets might not occur until 2020 or later (SEDAR 2004). Discussion at the meeting highlighted the need for more population level assessment work for the species, which is difficult to deliver when the species is protected from harvest (Porch et al, 2006; Cass-Calay and Schmidt, 2009).

In 2006, we conducted a status review of the Goliath grouper to review whether the continental U.S. population of goliath grouper still warranted "species of concern" status under the Endangered Species Act. The 2006 report indicated that the species was on a recovery trajectory because of current management strategies and no longer qualified for species of concern status.

In 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries convened a benchmark goliath grouper assessment for the continental U.S. population. That assessment is complete and the final recommendations will be forthcoming. Also in 2010, Wild Earth Guardians petitioned the U.S. government to list goliath grouper under the Endangered Species Act.

The goliath comes in three sizes. The dimensions below are listed starting from smallest to largest showing the Outside Dimensions (O.D), Inside Dimensions (I.D.), and ending with the Gallons of Water to fill the pool for each model. 041b061a72


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