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Can Red Grouper Network

author
Bob Roberts
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 7 min read

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.

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Contents

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.

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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.

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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.

Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. “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.

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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. Red grouper are easily recognized by their color and by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin.

The red grouper is most closely related to the Nassau grouper, Epimetheus stratus, which has several vertical bars and blotches and is found more commonly on coral reefs in the West Indies. Red grouper are distributed from North Carolina to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

The species is most abundant along Florida's east and west coasts, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It inhabits ledges, crevices, and caverns of rocky limestone reefs and lower-profile, live-bottom areas in waters 10 to 40 feet deep.

The red grouper is a protogynous hermaphrodite and females are capable of reproducing at 4 years of age. Females usually release an average of 1.5 million pelagic eggs that remain at the surface for 30-40 days before settling to the bottom.

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The maximum age of red grouper is 25 years, with older fish reaching a size of 32.5 inches and 25 pounds. Red grouper usually ambush their prey and swallow it hole, preferring crabs, shrimp, lobster, octopus, squid and fish that live close to reefs.

Open Season: June 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31.

The following regulations apply to Regrouped in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of Georgia and East Florida. Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the recreational Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31. Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species.

At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage. Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing.

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Open Season: June 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met. Annual Shallow-Water Grouper Spawning Season Closure: January 1 – April 30, except for Red Grouper in federal waters off North Carolina and South Carolina, which remain closed through May 31.

The following regulations apply to Regrouped in federal waters (3-200 nautical miles) off the coasts of Georgia and East Florida. Open Season: May 1 – December 31 Note: since this species is managed under an Annual Catch Limit, the fishery could close if the commercial Annual Catch Limit is met or projected to be met.

Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for snapper grouper species. At least one hooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper- grouper with minimum damage.

Since minimizing surface time is critical to increasing survival, descending devices shall be readily available for use while engaged in fishing. The use of non-stainless steel hooks when fishing for snapper- grouper species with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28º north latitude.

This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed, and sold prior to the annual catch limit being reached and held in cold storage by a dealer.

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(Source: captivafishing.net)

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Sources
1 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/blog/alabama-fishing-license/
2 vacationsalabama.com - https://vacationsalabama.com/fishing/best-alabama-fishing-lakes-in-alabama/
3 www.outdooralabama.com - https://www.outdooralabama.com/fishing
4 www.tripstodiscover.com - https://www.tripstodiscover.com/fishing-vacations-in-florida/
5 www.gameandfishmag.com - https://www.gameandfishmag.com/editorial/alabama-fishing-calendar-2019/358046
6 rootsrated.com - https://rootsrated.com/stories/6-top-fly-fishing-spots-in-alabama
7 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/license/recreational/do-i-need-one/
8 coastalanglermag.com - https://coastalanglermag.com/pensacola-alabama/fishing-reports/
9 www.visitflorida.com - https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do/florida-fishing.html
10 shopkarls.com - https://shopkarls.com/blog/best-florida-saltwater-fishing-destinations/