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Atlantic Black Grouper

author
Daniel Brown
• Sunday, 26 September, 2021
• 8 min read

U.S. wild-caught black grouper is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations. Fishing gears used to harvest black grouper have minimal impacts on habitat.

grouper fish bahamas reef gulf groupers species coral waters skin cooper sea marine food protected effective areas analysis abaco frsh
(Source: rollingharbour.com)

Contents

They also have teeth plates inside their throat that prevent prey from escaping after being swallowed. Black grouper take advantage of other species’ reproductive aggregations for feeding.

Black grouper are found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil. They are particularly associated with the southern Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean.

Annual catch limits are used for black 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 black grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect black grouper during their peak spawning period.

Minimum size limits protect immature black grouper. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.

bahamas grouper bonaci bahama mycteroperca alamy grand end west
(Source: www.alamy.com)

Groupers are managed separately by commercial and recreational sector in Puerto Rico. Seasonal closure for black, red, tiger, yellow fin, and yellow edge groupers from February 1 through April 30.

They also have teeth plates inside their throat that prevent prey from escaping after being swallowed. Species Habitat Black grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean with ranges extending from Massachusetts to Brazil.

Occurrences of the species north of Carolina's are considered to be rare and most likely due to larval transport in the Gulf Stream rather than migration. Juveniles can occur in seagrass and oyster rubble habitat in the Carolina's, and along reefs in the Florida Keys and in Brazil.

Adults prefer rocky bottoms, drop-off walls and ledges, caves, crevices, and coral and artificial reefs. While they are relatively sedentary and can remain in one particular site for some time, black grouper move to progressively deeper waters as they age.

They used passive acoustic recorders to monitor sound production indicative of spawning habitat use by groupers at Riley’s Hump in the Tortuga's South Ecological Reserve in Florida, the first known US spawning site for black grouper. This study illustrated the importance of the Tortuga's South Ecological Reserve and called for continued research in order to understand its role in the recovery and sustainability of managed fish populations.

bahamas atlantic ocean grouper bahama bonaci mycteroperca alamy grand
(Source: www.alamy.com)

Because of the vulnerability to overfishing associated with large aggregations and the biodiversity therein, it is important to consider spawning locations in the establishment of marine protected areas and seasonal closures. Limiting the number of available permits (both transferable and nontransferable) available to commercial fishers; Establishing annual catch limits for both commercial and recreational fishers; Establishing overall species quotas; Commercial and recreational size limits to reduce harvest of immature grouper ; Seasonal closures to protect spawning aggregations; Gear restrictions to protect habitat and reduce by catch; and, Eight deep-water marine protected areas closed to fishing and possession of snapper and grouper.

Established in 1984, the Reef Fish FMP and its amendments were designed to end historic overfishing for shallow water groupers and to rebuild populations. Establishes and allocates annual species-specific catch limits between commercial and recreational fishers for groupers and tile fish; Sets gear restrictions; Sets minimum size restrictions to protect immature grouper ; and, 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. Red and black grouper are among the most important species caught in Mexico in terms of volume and economic value.

Most grouper, particularly those caught in the Mexican industrial bottom longline fishery, is imported to the US. Numerous entities are involved to some degree with creating, implementing, and enforcing fishery management strategies in Mexico.

grouper bahamas atlantic ocean mycteroperca bonaci bahama alamy grand
(Source: www.alamy.com)

Under SAGA RPA, the National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (Coalesce) is charged with developing and carrying out fisheries management regulations. Wild Black grouper are found in the Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico.

Unlike red grouper, black grouper in the United States is considered to be one stock across both the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions. Grouper in generally are fairly long-lived and come together to spawn in large numbers, characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure.

A May 2014 Seafood Watch report stated that according to the most recent stock assessment in 2010, black grouper is not considered overfished. Grouper fisheries have high impacts on nontarget species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium reported.

The black grouper fisheries use hooking devices and circle hooks to reduce by catch. Venting tools are also employed to make it easier for reef fish to survive when released.

Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Mycteroperca Species: Binomial name Mycteroperca Monaco Synonyms Monaco Ararat Parr, 1787 Serra nus Monaco Play, 1860 Serra nus runners Play, 1860 Serra nus decimals Play, 1860 Serra nus Ararat Store, 1860 Serra nus cyclopomatus Play, 1861 Serra nus latepictus Play, 1861 Isotropic again Play, 1867 Mycteroperca Monaco var. Myctoperca Monaco has an oblong, literally compressed body with a standard length which is 3.3 to 3.5 times its depth.

grouper bahamas bonaci mycteroperca atlantic west ocean grand end coolwaterphoto
(Source: coolwaterphoto.photoshelter.com)

It has an evenly rounded properly with no incisions or lobes at its angle. The caudal fin is truncate to marginate, although it may be convex if spread widely.

This species has an overall t’s an olive gray color and is marked with dark blotches and brassy hexagonal spots over the head and flanks. This fish attains a maximum total length of 150 centimeters (59 in), although they are more common at around 70 centimeters (28 in) and a maximum published weight of 100 kilograms (220 lb).

Mycteroperca Monaco occurs over rocky bottoms and coral reefs at depths of 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 ft), however in the eastern Gulf of Mexico it is normally encountered at depths of more than 30 meters (98 ft). It is usually a solitary species, the adults feeding mainly on fishes, such as grunts, snapper and herrings, and the juveniles feed on crustaceans.

Black groupers have been recorded forming seasonal feeding aggregations along the outer continental shelf off Brazil, these coincide with spawning aggregations of some fish species the groupers prey on. They are is a monastic protogynous hermaphrodites, and they form spawning aggregations and these have been reported from in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Females attain sexual maturity at around 5years old and at a length of around 82.6 centimeters (32.5 in) and the change of sex to males occurs when they are around 15 years old and at a mean length of 121.4 centimeters (47.8 in). Mycteroperca Monaco is quite tasty and an important food fish.

grouper bahamas atlantic west bonaci mycteroperca ocean grand end coolwaterphoto
(Source: coolwaterphoto.photoshelter.com)

An annotated and illustrated catalog of the grouper, rock cod, hind, coral grouper and lyre tail species known to date (PDF). World Register of Marine Species.

^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R. The FCC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) manages the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean differently, and it’s important to know what’s in season and what you can harvest from each shoreline.

The Gulf of Mexico is a unique body of water that provides commercial and recreational anglers plenty of fishing opportunities. The Gulf covers most of Florida’s west coast, from Pensacola in the Panhandle to the start of the Everglades at the tip of the peninsula.

This is important to keep in mind as there are different regulations for what’s in season and what you can harvest depending on if you’re in state or federal waters. For Gag Grouper fishing in the Gulf, it’s important to note what county you’re embarking from.

For counties of Franklin, Weibull, Taylor and Jefferson (in the Panhandle area from Apalachicola to Steinhatchee) there is open season in state waters from April 1 to June 30, and again from September 1 to December 31. Black, Red, Scamp, Yellow fin and Yellow mouth Grouper all have similar regulations in the Gulf.

grouper bahamas mycteroperca bonaci atlantic ocean grand end west coolwaterphoto
(Source: coolwaterphoto.photoshelter.com)

It’s open season in both state and federal waters for Rock Hind, Coney, Yellow edge and Snowy Groupers. You can ask your charter captain if the size you have is a keeper or not; or refer to the FCC regulations to make sure you’re staying compliant.

Now moving east to the beautiful Atlantic Ocean where there are excellent opportunities for grouper fishing. From the Florida Keys to Jacksonville, anglers have hundreds of cities to choose from to launch your grouper expedition.

The real question is, what subspecies of grouper you’ll find at the end of your line. East Coast anglers should mark your calendars for May 1, this is when Gag Grouper and Backgrounder season opens from the Keys to Duval County (Jacksonville area).

The season runs until December 31, and each angler can collect one or the other each trip within the 3 grouper aggregate. Honestly, that’s why there are regulations in place, so that this incredible species is not overfished and the population stays healthy.

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Sources
1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_goliath_grouper
2 oceana.org - https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/atlantic-goliath-grouper
3 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/atlantic-goliath-grouper
4 myanimals.com - https://myanimals.com/animals/wild-animals-animals/fish-wild-animals-animals/the-atlantic-goliath-grouper-characteristics-and-habitat/