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.
He’s been fishing for over 25 years, starting with grouper and snapper, then expanding into stone crab. 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.
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. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Mario Synonyms Serra nus Mario Valentines, 1828 Serra nus erythrogaster Delay, 1842 Serra nus lurid us Tanzania, 1842 Serra nus remotes Play, 1860 Serra nus angustifrons Standalone, 1864 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.
Spawning occurs offshore between January and June, peaking in May. 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. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Mario.
“Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico (PDF). Catch, photograph and identification courtesy of Dean Kimberly, Atlanta, Georgia.
The Regrouped, Epimetheus Mario, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, and is known in Mexico as China Americana. Globally, there are 100 species in the genus Epimetheus, of which 11 are found in Mexican waters, 6 in the Atlantic and 5 in the Pacific Ocean.
They vary in color but are overall a dark reddish brown with an unorganized pattern of white speckles and blotches on their sides. Their head is a uniform chocolate brown dorsally transitioning to pale with a red tinge centrally.
Juveniles are found within inshore reefs; as the fish mature they move further offshore. They reach a maximum of 1.25 m (4 feet 1 inches) in length and 23 kg (51 lbs) in weight.
They are protogynous hermaphrodites and undergo a sex reversal with females transitioning to males at mid-life. They are not aggregation spawners; fertilization is external with pelagic eggs that hatch within 30 hours.
The Regrouped is a resident of all Mexican waters of the Atlantic Ocean including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. From a conservation perspective the Regrouped is currently considered to be Near Threatened but in the next 5 years this will most certainly be reclassified to Vulnerable due to diminished populations, slow reproduction cycles, slow growth rates, and continued heavy overfishing.
At present, they are heavily regulated in United States waters and by the Mexican Government but such actions have had very little impact on the overall populations. The Regrouped continues to be targeted by both commercial and recreational fishermen within the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientific Livestock Status RecreationalCommercialSeasonClosed February 1 through March 31 beyond 20 fathoms (120 ft or 36.6 m), Open in January and April 1 through December 31. Season Red grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program. Anyone commercially fishes for red grouper must possess allocation and follow established protocols.
Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.
(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SG). The recreational sector for SG, in or from the Gulf EEA, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEA seaward of thumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table.
During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SG in or from the Gulf EEA seaward of the following thumb lines is zero. Red grouper is present in the Western Atlantic from the Carolina's south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda; however, it is most abundant in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
In general, red grouper is a dark brown color with a reddish hue on its back and sides, fading to a pale pink underneath. The anal, dorsal and tail fins have dark margins.
The spawning season occurs anywhere from January to early June depending on the area. Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner.
Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico : data portal. Sedan 61 Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper Final Stock Assessment Report, 2019 Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F.
(2016), Stock Complexes for Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. Doi: 10.1080/19425120.2015.1024359 Like, E. and R. Myers, 1994.
Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. Red grouper is available year-round with peak catches in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico occurring during the summer and fall.
Red grouper flesh is white and lean with a notable lack of bones, and is very forgiving when cooked as it remains moist, firm, and has large flakes. Red grouper is considered the best tasting grouper with a distinct shellfish finish due to its diet.
Biology Red grouper grow slowly and can reach up to 50 inches in length and weigh up to 50 pounds. Red grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they all begin life as a female and eventually some may transform into males.
Red grouper have large mouths with a slight under-bite, which allows them to eat their prey whole by dilating their gill covers and rapidly inhaling. Species Habitat Red grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean with ranges extending from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.
Red grouper act as “marine engineers” in their ecosystem by hollowing out flat-bottomed areas to create their home and attract mates. This process provides habitat to other species such as spiny lobster, black grouper, red porgy, and vermilion snapper.
Allocates an annual catch limit between commercial (76 percent) and recreational (24 percent) fishers Restricts certain gear types to reduce by catch Sets minimum size restrictions to protect immature red grouper Establishes year round and seasonal area closures for both commercial and recreational fishers to protect spawning stock and essential fish habitat The If program allocates shares of the total commercial catch limit amongst individual fishers.
Under the program, each fisher owns a share of the quota and can choose to fish it at anytime during the open season. Strict commercial reporting requirements prevent fishers from harvesting more than their individual allocation.
The Reef Fish FMP has been a success in allowing red grouper populations to bounce back from overfishing that had occurred on and off in the Gulf since the 1970s. They are fairly long-lived and come together to spawn in large numbers, characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure.
The Gulf of Mexico population in the was declared overfished in 2000 and then was rebuilt to target levels in 2007, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. The South Atlantic stock is no longer overfished, but a 2010 assessment showed it hasn’t been fully rebuilt.
Grouper fisheries have high impacts on nontarget species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium reported. In the United States, red grouper management measures include permits, annual catch limits, fishing quotas, marine protected areas that are closed to fishing, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, minimum size limits, and data reporting requirements.