The video, shot by his wife using a GoPro 3, shows the hefty fish as he nips at the man's flipper, tearing it off, and then goes straight for his catch with its powerful jaw. But, even if the diver wasn't familiar with that specific size of this type of fish, Goliath groupers have been known to roam western Atlantic waters near Florida.
Although some populations are below target levels, U.S. wild-caught red grouper is still a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Fishing gear used to catch red grouper rarely contacts the ocean bottom and has minimal impacts on habitat.
They engulf prey whole by opening their large mouths, dilating their gill covers, rapidly drawing in a current of water, and inhaling the food. Large sharks and carnivorous marine mammals prey on adult red grouper.
Red grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil. Annual catch limits are used for red grouper in the commercial and recreational fisheries.
These fisheries are closed when their annual catch limit is projected to be met. Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature red grouper.
The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect red grouper during their peak spawning period. To reduce by catch, there are restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish.
The red grouper has a body with a standard length which is 2.6 to 3 times as long as it is deep. The properly is subangular with the serrations at its angle being slightly enlarged and the upper edge of the gill cover is straight.
The They are dark reddish brown on the upper part of the head and body, shading to paler pink on the underparts, they are marked with lighter spots and blotches across their body and there are darker margins to the fins. This species has a maximum published total length of 125 centimeters (49 in), although they a more commonly found at lengths around 50 centimeters (20 in), and a maximum published weight of 23 kilograms (51 lb).
The redgrouper's typical range is coastal areas in the western Atlantic, stretching from southern Brazil to North Carolina in the US and including the Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda. The red grouper is a reversal, largely sedentary species which has an extended (~40 day) pelagic larval stage before it settles in shallow coastal hard bottom habitat as juveniles.
While primarily eating benthic invertebrates, the red grouper is an opportunistic feeder in the reef community. The diet commonly includes mantid and portend crabs, juvenile spiny lobster, and snapping shrimp, with the occasional fish.
The red grouper is of moderate size, about 125 cm and weighs 23 kg or more. When aggravated (they are highly territorial) or involved in spawning activities, these fish can very rapidly change coloration patterns, with the head or other parts of the body turning completely white, and the white spots appearing more intense.
Red grouper (Epimetheus Mario) on an excavated site on Pulley Ridges on the West Florida Shelf Red grouper actively excavate pits in the seafloor. They start digging in the sediment from the time they settle out of the plankton and continue throughout their lifetime.
They use their caudal fin and their mouths to remove debris and sediment from rocks, creating exposed surfaces on which sessile organisms actively settle (e.g., sponges, soft corals, algae). The exposure of structure also attracts a myriad of other species, including mobile invertebrates and a remarkable diversity of other fishes, from bodies and butterfly fish to grunts and snapper.
The lionfish Steroid Holsteins started invading red grouper habitat by 2008, from Florida Bay to the Florida Keys and offshore to Pulley Ridge, a despotic coral reef on the West Florida Shelf west of the Dry Tortugas. Known for being extremely capable predators on small reef fish, scientists are very interested in determining the extent to which their invasion changes the functional dynamics of associated communities.
Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory. “Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico” (PDF).
The majority of media and political attention is focused on red snapper, but there are several other reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico that are of commercial and recreational importance. Fishermen are putting our heads together to independently address this issue instead of waiting for politics and management to catch up.
Are we catching less red grouper because the red snapper population has expanded as it recovers? Thanks to successful management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, red snapper populations are rebounding and their range is expanding.
Solving the problem of a declining of red grouper population is not going to be an easy task, but I have confidence that our collaboration between industry, scientists, and managers, together with the best-available science mandated by Magnuson-Stevens, can successfully recover the red grouper fishery. Paul Lough ridge is a commercial fisherman and owner of four boats out of Crystal River, Florida.
# of Dives: 500 – 999 Location: Metro New York As far as I know groupers are only dangerous if you eat them. Large groupers in the Caribbean are linked to increased risk of Cautery poisoning.
In my limited experience the most aggressive fishes I've run into are spade fish, Bermuda chubby and of course damsel fishes, which are more annoying than dangerous. # of Dives: 100 – 199 Location: Tampa Florida While fishing down in the keys a buddy of mine was reeling in a 30 0r so inch grouper, right at the boat a Cuba took a bite of it, before the Cuba wished away with its free meal a much larger grouper nailed it on its side at a very high rate of speed.
# of Dives: 50 – 99 Location: VA The only threat I felt from the one I had just passed when the picture in my avatar was taken was being poked in the eye by lobster antennae that was sticking out of his mouth. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe.
# of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Cape Cod, MA I agree that if you don't mes with them, they won't mess with you. That’s like a silver back gorilla that can swim, only with less hair and a severely diminished tree-swinging ability.
Large groupers in the Caribbean are linked to increased risk of Cautery poisoning. Otherwise, I've never heard of groupers attacking divers, despite over 500 dives all over the Caribbean.
I saw hundreds of big guys ... From petting the famous “ELVIS” to playing dive guide with others right by my side ... even one getting mad for stopping to pet a nurse shark and hitting him and running the nurse shark off, so he'd get all the attention! I had an old Nikon V and was bending the SB 105 strobe arm to get it to go under the “ledge”.
So not paying him any mind trying to get in for the perfect picture I had to take my tank off and drag it behind me. Then I took the picture the flash fired ... then his thumping went to BBBBBBBBBBBBBBrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, and he charged me and ran into the coral as I was far enough back, so he couldn't reach me.
Never heard of Grouper poisoning. Ther was an outbreak of Conch poisoning some years ago, whih was caused by the storage methods-the vendors kept the catch in the harbor, once they had fresh running water the problem was corrected. You can get poisoned by eating Barracuda which is considered to be a delicacy locally, but can be risky if it has not been handled or prepared properly.p.s most of the hotels buy imported seafood from the restaurant supply companies.you will get locally caught seafood at Arawak Cay fish fry and Potters Cay dock. The grouper population throughout the northern Caribbean and Atlantic are dwindling rapidly.
I have dove around New Providence often, and in the past decade, have witnessed the Nassau Grouper population grow sparse. So, the fishermen must catch the grouper you eat farther out in the ocean, probably in deep waters.
As Robert points out, grouper are becoming overfished, so big ones are even more scarce. After reading j's post, I did a search for ciguatera and found that occasionally people who eat contaminated fish have numbness, tingling, vomiting, etc. We will not ask for grouper not just because of the risk for ciguatera, but because it is becoming scarce.
)Chilean Sea BassFlounderOrange RoughyAtlantic Halibut Red Snapper Pacific SalmonSwordfishA great substitution I have found for the above fish is a farmed fish called Tilapia. It's plentiful, and a delicate white fish similar to Grouper and Chilean Sea Bass.
The people answering your question don't have any idea of the truth of the matter. Upon serving the platter on those occasions it has been reported that fish bites have occurred in alarming numbers.
In deference to the fishing industry, the demise of the grouper and efforts to bring back the species to high numbers again is based upon marine biology research...not the sport fishing industry. Normally solitary and territorial, during the winter full moons they travel, sometimes over great distances, and group together to spawn.
About fifty of these spawning aggregations sites have been recorded in different places throughout the Caribbean. Due to the timing and site fidelity of the spawning aggregations and the ease with which these relative loners can be caught while congregating by the hundreds and thousands to spawn, one-third to one-half of the known Caribbean aggregation sites are now inactive.
For two weeks, a team of divers that included five volunteers, staff from the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, and led by Reefs Field Operations Coordinator, Leslie Whale, visited the aggregation site and nearby reefs. Grouper Moon Collaborators and Sponsors During the Grouper Moon Project, REEF worked in cooperation with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, the Southern Cross Club, Sam McCoy Diving Lodge, and the Coral Reef Alliance.
There was also generous support from Peter Hillenbrand, Island Air, the Little Cayman Beach Resort, and Paradise Villas. There is no doubt that as the mysterious life of the grouper, through research studies is discovered, and critical regulations to keep its populations within healthy numbers are implemented, that long-term benefits to the fishing industry will occur.
These regulations and no-take zones have benefited other species as well; the spiny lobster in northern Extra, Bahamas has rebounded in huge numbers in an area protected aggressively by game wardens by the Bahamian Govt. Local Bahamians fish for spiny lobster around the periphery of the no-take zone, and catch GREAT numbers of them today, which disperse from the protected area.
Tourists in Paradise Island, unknowingly, eat these plentiful lobsters taken from this high-population area. It was not long ago that Americans rarely thought about where their food came from, let alone the impacts of their choices.
Part of the reason fisheries are in trouble is that consumers didn’t know the impacts of their choices. Lasprogata says, “For way too long there’s been this surprising attitude: Fishermen believed that fisheries belonged to them, and that has led to collapse, over and over again.
Why it's bad: Problems associated with our eating too many sharks happen at all stages of the food chain, says Cone. For one, these predatory fish are extremely high in mercury, which poses threats to humans.
“With fewer sharks around, the species they eat, like cow nose rays and jellyfish, have increased in numbers,” Cone says. There are fewer of those fish in the oceans for us to eat, placing an economic strain on coastal communities that depend on those fisheries.
Plus, “If you see sea scallops that are a uniform size and shape, you may be looking at shark.” Shark-finning is illegal in the U.S., but its practice in other areas is causing devastation in shark-populations worldwide. But cod had the worst season in 2016 in years, with serious catch depletion.” Atlantic cod stocks collapsed in the mid-1990s and are in such disarray that the species is now listed as one step above endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.
Why it's bad: Caviar from beluga and wild-caught sturgeon are susceptible to overfishing, but the species are also being threatened by an increase in dam building that pollutes the water in which they live. “Even though it’s not recovered, the federal government agreed to reopen recreational red snapper fishing recently.
Eat this instead: Mild-tasting wild-caught Asian or Atlantic Sea Bass is a good, Seafood-Watch recommended alternative to red snapper, or look for the farm-raised version, marketed as barracuda. Food and Water Watch's guide notes that these fish are high in mercury, as well.
Eat this instead: These fish are very popular and considered a delicacy, but you can get the same texture and feel with U.S. hook-and-line–caught haddock. Why it's bad: Orange Roughly has been so overfished that many restaurant chains still refuse to serve it.
Most consumers see it in sushi, but it is often high in PCs and mercury, and eel populations are too often over harvested. Why it's bad: The thing about imported King Crab is that it comes mainly from Russia where there are no protections and the fishery is being over harvested.
True Alaskan King Crab from Alaska, is a protected US fishery that’s well managed, and stocks are healthy. Why it's bad: Open water, farmed Atlantic salmon fisheries contribute to pollution and interspecies mixing.
“It’s become increasingly hard to talk about eating octopus because we’ve learned so much about their intelligence and abilities.” The list will change because we’ve entered an era where fisheries information is fluid.
What might be the worst thing to eat now because of severe depletion could rebound and be a sustainable fishery a few years down the road with proper management. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch A respected and increasingly well-known resource for consumers, businesses and chefs around the country, to help them make healthy choices for the oceans.
The Marine Stewardship Council “An international non-profit organization established to address the problem of unsustainable fishing and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
It’s incredibly important to get ample omega-3 fatty acids, and certain fish can serve as potent sources. But due to issues like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water and building up in our fish.
Unfortunately, low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a real threat and can lead to devastating effects on health. In fact, the shift to eating more farmed fish like tilapia is leading to highly inflammatory diets, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers say tilapia is one of the most widely consumed fish in America. Sustaining high levels of inflammation in the body can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disorders and may be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
If you must eat this fish, avoid tilapia from China, where farming practices are particularly worrisome. In 2014, Oceana, the largest ocean conservation group in the world, conducted an investigation using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
They found that commercial fishermen in the U.S. throw about 2 billion pounds of “by catch” overboard each year. According to the report, if you’ve eaten U.S. halibut, there’s a good chance it came from this damaging fishery.
Without further protection and enforcement of existing efforts, we may forever lose one of the biggest, most interesting fishes in the world. Now common on menus around the U.S., Chilean sea bass overfishing has left this species in serious trouble.
Furthermore, harvesting the fish from Chile is also plagued by poor management and by catch problems. Eel Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch places eel on the “Avoid” list on its sushi guide because it’s slow to mature and has been overfished in many parts of the world, bringing some populations to collapse.
In the Delaware River, for instance, eels are an integral part of spreading mussel populations that serve as natural water filters. Aside from the issues with overfishing, eels tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCs) and flame retardants.
They’re also commonly treated with a broad range of antibiotics, in addition to pesticides and disinfectants. In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp that could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women.
Shrimp farm ponds are also treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides such as malachite green, rote none and organic compounds, all of which can have detrimental effects on health. Plus, an Associated Press investigation uncovered a slavery network in Thailand dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world.
In 2007, Thailand alone exported about $1.24 billion to the United States, according to Food and Water Watch. Although Alaskan king crab legs legally can only be called that if they’re harvested from Alaska, widespread mislabeling is the norm.
Generally known as “slime head” within the scientific community, seafood marketers had other ideas for this fish and gave the species a more appetizing name. Since orange roughly don’t reach sexual maturity until at least 20 years old, they are very slow to recovery.
According to Oceana: “The extremely long lifespan and the late age at maturity imply that a decimated population may take a half century or longer before it can recover.” Beyond that, the orange roughly is also known to have higher mercury levels, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts.
But apart from that, most shark species, which are slow to mature and don’t have a lot of offspring, are severely depleted. Often referred to as Hon Mauro on sushi menus, this simply means blue fin tuna, which should be avoided at all costs.
A better sushi choice would be fatso/skip jack tuna caught through Pacific troll or pole and line methods only. However, due to its high demand for sushi, fisheries managers are still allowing commercial fishing to target it.
Sadly, blue fin tuna numbers are at just 2.6 percent of historic population levels. Aside from the obvious population collapse and extinction threat, this is also a large predatory fish that harbors higher levels of mercury.
In fact, the mercury in this fish is so high that the Environmental Defense Fund recommends women and children avoid it altogether. That’s certainly the case with king mackerel, as the Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to outright avoid it.
You may want to avoid Spanish mackerel, too, which has also been shown to harbor elevated mercury levels. Luckily, Atlantic mackerel is high in omega-3s, low in mercury and is rated a top choice in terms of health and sustainability.
In 2015, an investigation found that more than a third of 19 restaurants in Atlanta sold fantasies (also known as “Vietnamese catfish”) as grouper. Testing also found that grouper for sale is actually often king mackerel or white fin weakfish, a cheaper alternative.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, sturgeon are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” The best fish options are ones that come from sustainable fisheries, are low in contaminants and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch calls this the “Super Green List.” In addition to being rich in heart-healthy fats, salmon is a great source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Atlantic mackerel This oily fish is also high in health omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12. Keep in mind that mackerel is often sold preserved in tons of salt, so be sure to soak it and rinse well before cooking and eating to reduce sodium levels.
Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia) Sable fish/Black Cod (from Alaska and Canadian Pacific) Finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors, including sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and the risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals.