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This fish is huge and almost extinct

A scuba diver came face to face with the gentle giant of the sea, the goliath grouper

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A scuba diver in Florida came face to face with one of the biggest fish in the sea, the Atlantic goliath grouper.

Jim Abernethy, a conservationist and scuba charter boat operator from Lake Park, Florida, sent video of his encounter to CBS 12.

“It’s so amazing that you can have a huge 400-500 pound -- up to 800 pound -- animal swim toward you so you can get closer to it. They’re extremely friendly, docile, beautiful creatures,” Abernethy said.

The goliath grouper is on the endangered species list and there’s been a ban on hunting them in the waters off the Florida coast since 1990.

But in the last year, there's been a new push to make it legal to kill them.

“Without question, we should not allow the killing of this animal. Everyone should care about the needless slaughter of animals in my opinion,” Abernethy said.

But some fishermen say the population of goliath groupers has recovered, and that the big fish gobble up all the other fish, lobsters and crabs, making life difficult for those trying to catch them.

According to spacecoastdaily.com, the state is looking at the possibility of holding a drawing to let 100 fishermen catch one goliath grouper each year.

A workshop on the goliath grouper is set for July 31 in Lantana, Florida.

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