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Can You Red Grouper Big

author
Carole Stephens
• Friday, 01 January, 2021
• 7 min read

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.

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Contents

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. 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.

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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. 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.

All species must be landed with head and fins intact Recreational Bag Limit sales are prohibited 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.

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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.

Prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F. Like many other grouper, red grouper undergo a sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age. 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. Red grouper grow slowly, up to almost 50 inches long and more than 50 pounds.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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. Venting tools are also employed to make it easier for reef fish to survive when released.

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.

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Sources
1 www.fishanywhere.com - https://www.fishanywhere.com/blog/grouper-season-2020-in-florida/
2 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/groupers/
3 spacecoastdaily.com - https://spacecoastdaily.com/2020/12/several-gag-grouper-closures-set-to-begin-january-1-in-gulf-atlantic-waters/
4 www.floridasportsman.com - http://www.floridasportsman.com/2020/12/23/several-grouper-closures-start-jan-1/
5 outdoornewsdaily.com - http://outdoornewsdaily.com/several-grouper-closures-start-jan-1-in-gulf-and-atlantic-waters-4/
6 spacecoastdaily.com - https://spacecoastdaily.com/2020/12/new-hook-regulations-in-atlantic-state-waters-effective-jan-1-empower-anglers-to-conserve-fisheries/
7 www.eregulations.com - http://www.eregulations.com/florida/fishing/saltwater/reef-fish/
8 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/management-plan/south-atlantic-snapper-grouper-fishery-management-plan