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Do Red Grouper Eat

author
Maria Johnson
• Saturday, 31 October, 2020
• 9 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.

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. Minimum size limits protect immature red grouper.

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.

grouper
(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

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.

grouper istock fish
(Source: www.istockphoto.com)

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).

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. Red grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they all begin life as a female and eventually some may transform into males.

grouper lapu steamed sauce ginger oyster
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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.

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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. Grouper is a salt-water fish, found on the menu in restaurants and within stores throughout the United States.

There are three varieties available that vary in flavor and price: red grouper, true black grouper, and gag. For a mild-tasting fish, it has very high levels of oil, which offers a pleasant buttery mouthfeel.

CharacteristicDescriptionTasteMild tasting with a faintly sweet undertoneTextureFirm, large flakesFishinessLow levelsOilinessHigh levelsColorWhite, once cooked The smaller size impacts the taste of the red grouper as it has a milder, sweeter flavor.

grouper
(Source: erikmandersen.wordpress.com)

The black grouper has a firmer texture and yields more edible fish content than the red variety. If you don’t have a reliable source for fresh grouper, consider buying the frozen product.

Its high levels of oil help it maintain a lovely moist texture even if it’s a little over-cooked. It’s also tasty eaten on its own, on skewers, with a zesty lemon marinade, a creamy tartare sauce, or a combination of butter, garlic, and lime juice.

The debate for whether grouper is best eaten with batter, crumbed, floured, or with nothing added will always rage on. Blackening is a quick and straightforward method that produces moist fish encased in a flavor-packed coating.

Although blackening is suited to outdoor grilling, you can also cook the fish in the oven or fry it in a pan. Preheat a large skillet on the grill or stove top on high heat for at least 10 minutes.

Rinse the fish fillets in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Once all the ingredients are evenly distributed, transfer the mixture to a platter or large plate.

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As groupers are a reef-dwelling fish, they have the potential to be contaminated by toxins, which can lead to Ciguatera poisoning. Your best option to avoid getting sick is to check with the seller if the fish comes from a hotspot for Ciguatera.

Some problem areas include the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, and coastal Central America. A gulf grouper is a unique tasting, moist fish that is endemic to Mexico.

It has a subtle, sweet flavor with less fishy taste than black grouper or gag. It is prized for its moist meat that easily flakes into big chunks once cooked.

Grouper is considered to be a white fish, along with haddock, catfish, tilapia, and snapper. It’s relatively high oil content makes it a simple fish to avoid overcooking.

It is a blank canvas that allows the creative cook to pair exciting ingredients with the fish. If you enjoy fish that isn’t too full of flavor then you might also like to check out our sea bass guide.

sour sweet fish rice bowl deli
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