An 18-year-old college student was charged following an online tip that showed a picture of the male allegedly posing with a goliath grouper out of the water.
According to arrest records, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation received an internet crimes complaint regarding the alleged violator, Joshua David Anyzeski, on Aug. 26. Per the complaint, Anyzeski reportedly removed a goliath grouper from a lagoon on the College of the Florida Keys campus on Stock Island and took a picture with it.
The report states that the goliath grouper wasn’t only removed from the water, but also transported a short distance from the lagoon, which is used as a dive training site, across land where it was “messed with” before it was released. A photo was submitted to the FWC’s reporting site, Wildlife Alert, by a friend that allegedly showed Anyzeski holding the goliath grouper in front of a utility closet, which wasn’t near the water where the fish was harvested.
According to a friend who submitted the tip, Anyzeski caught the fish in the lagoon and bragged about in a group text. Goliath grouper is a prohibited species, and it’s unlawful to remove and possess one.
Two days after the complaint, FWC investigators Chris Matson and Brittany Mobley visited the campus to conduct an interview with Anyzeski. He told the investigators he removed the goliath grouper out of the water on Aug. 25 to get a hook out of its mouth and took a picture with it. He stated that he didn’t kill the juvenile that was about 20 pounds.
Anyzeski was arrested on Sept. 7 and charged with one misdemeanor count of taking an endangered, threatened, special species. His bond was set at $7,500.
Those who see wildlife violations and other suspicious activity and safety concerns can report them via the Florida Fish & Wildlife reporting mobile app, online at Wildlife Alert or by calling 888-404-FWCC (3922). Cellphone users can dial *FWC or #FWC depending on their service provider.
Bobby Dube, FWC officer and public information officer, said law enforcement can use all the eyes and ears they can get to catch violators. Cases have been made off such tips from the public, he said.
“If you see something, say something, even if it’s on social media,” he said. “We have an internet crimes section. If we get a tip or hint or we observe a violation, we have officers and investigators who will look into whatever complaint it may be.”
Information leading to an arrest or citation can result in a reward.