Its range includes the Florida Keys in the US, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, it is caught off the coasts of the US states of New England off Maine and Massachusetts.
In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from the Congo to Senegal. Young Atlantic Goliath groupers may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers.
They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb). The world record for a hook-and-line-captured specimen is 308.44 kg (680.0 lb), caught off Fernanda Beach, Florida, in 1961.
Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic goliathgrouper were a highly sought-after quarry for fishermen. It is a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen because of the grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature.
They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning annually to the same locations. Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline.
The fish is recognized as “vulnerable” globally and “endangered” in the Gulf of Mexico. The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, some time will be needed for populations to return to their previous levels.
Goliath groupers are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, which refer to organisms that are born female and at some point in their lifespans change sex to male. Males can be sexually mature at about 115 centimeters (45 in), and ages 4–6 years.
In May 2015, the Atlantic goliathgrouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time. Tidal pools act as nurseries for juvenile E. Tamara.
In tidal pools juvenile E.Tamara are able to utilize rocky crevices for shelter. Besides shelter, tidal pools provide E. Tamara with plenty of prey such as lobster and porcelain crab.
The Atlantic goliathgrouper has historically been referred to as the “Jewish”. It may have referred to the fish's status as inferior leading it to be declared only suitable for Jews, or the flesh having a “clean” taste comparable to kosher food ; it has also been suggested that this name is simply a corruption of jaw fish or the Italian word for “bottom fish”, Giuseppe.
In 2001, the American Fisheries Society stopped using the term because of complaints that it was culturally insensitive. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
^ Lovato, Cleo nice Maria Cardozo; Soars, Bruno Clears; Begot, Tiago Octavio Buffalo; Montage, Luciano Coach de Assis (January 2016). “Tidal pools as habitat for juveniles of the Goliath grouper Epimetheus Tamara (Lichtenstein 1822) in the Amazonian coastal zone, Brazil”.
Risky, Delaney C.; Bakenhaster, Micah D.; Adams, Douglas H. (2015). “ Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Tamara. Its range includes the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys in the United States, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast.
Scientists from our Southeast Fisheries Science Center are working to understand the changes that have occurred in coral reef ecosystems following the loss of top predators, such as groupers. The once common Nassau grouper (Epimetheus stratus) and goliathgrouper (E. Tamara) have been so depleted that they are under complete protection from the South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.
From 1997-2005, our researchers collaborated with Florida State University's Institute for Fishery Resource Ecology (Dr. Chris Koenig and Dr. Felicia Coleman) to monitor the status and recovery of goliathgrouper. This goliathgrouper research program investigated juvenile and adult Jewish abundance, distribution and migration patterns; their age and growth; and their habitat utilization.
With the help of Don Maria we have tagged over 1,000 adult Jewish and have observed aggregations of goliathgrouper in both the Gulf of Mexico and more recently, the South Atlantic. Posters created by the Center of Marine Conservation help disseminate information about our project and its requirements, highlighting our tagging study and the morphology of goliathgrouper.
Given that these groupers were afforded protected status, researchers worked to utilize and develop novel non-lethal techniques to procure and analyze biological samples for life history information. Researchers have also determined that soft dorsal rays hold promise for aging older fish (Marie et al., 2008).
These casualties, resulting from red tide, gave our biologists a unique opportunity to collect a multitude of biological samples, without having to sacrifice healthy animals. Tissue samples were also removed and sent to the Florida Marine Research Institute, so they could evaluate the level of red tide toxin.
The sampling trip gave these biologists an opportunity to educate the curious beach goers about red tide and goliathgrouper (a few of which had been misidentified as baby manatees). Attempts to evaluate the data needed to assess the status of these depleted stocks and develop rebuilding plans present unique challenges.
In 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and NOAA Fisheries convened a benchmark goliathgrouper assessment for the continental U.S. population. This project would not have been possible without ongoing collaboration with researchers from Florida State University, Everglades National Park, and the recreational fishing and SCUBA diving communities.
Photo courtesy Oaths large, solitary fish will defend its territory when threatened, with aggressive body language and a rumbling sound it makes with its swim bladder. Its large, thick, elongated body can grow to over 8 feet long (and up to 800 pounds), from rounded snout and small eyes, to short, fan-like tail fin.
Usually it is a mottled yellow-brown to gray with darker bard and spots, ideal for blending in to their rocky coral and muddy inshore habitat. Other names are Baden (Portuguese), campus (Portuguese), hernia gig ante (Italian), China (Spanish), group (Portuguese), gran morgue (Iranian), guava (Spanish), data (Japanese), harbor (Norwegian), havsabborre (Swedish), Tamara Vienna (Polish), Judaism (Norwegian), hero guava (Spanish), hero (French), orphan (Turkish), raitameriahven (Finnish), Sophos (Greek), scarring (Italian), tip (Palikir), Atari (Icelandic), and zackenbarsch (German).
A 450 pound goliathgrouper caught by Buddy Junks at the Big Indian Rocks Fishing Pier, Florida (1976). Photo courtesy Kenneth Krzysztof historical importance to commercial fisheries, the goliathgrouper has also long been prized by recreational and sport fishers.
Spear fishers find this fish easy to approach; hence in locations accessible to divers their numbers have declined. The large size, slow growth, low reproductive rate, and spawning behavior have made the goliathgrouper especially susceptible to overfishing.
The goliathgrouper is totally protected from harvest and is recognized as a “Critically Endangered” species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Furthermore, the IUCN concludes that the species has been “observed, estimated, inferred or suspected” of a reduction of at least 80% over the last 10 years or three generations.
Historical exploitation of goliathgrouper annual spawning aggregation sites greatly reduced the number of reproductive adults. Occurring in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet (46 m), the goliathgrouper prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms.
It is territorial near areas of refuge such as caves, wrecks, and ledges, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders. Additional warning may be delivered in the form of the goliathgrouper ’s ability to produce a distinctly audible rumbling sound generated by the muscular contraction of the swim bladder.
Photo courtesy NOAA Distinctive Features Goliath grouper are the largest members of the sea bass family in the Atlantic Ocean. Coloration This fish is generally brownish yellow, gray, or olive with small dark spots on head, body, and fins.
The presence of a number of short weakly developed canine teeth is useful in distinguishing this species from other North Atlantic groupers. Photo © Don Maria Size, Age, and Growth The goliathgrouper is the largest grouper in the western Atlantic.
However, this specimen was sampled from a population of individuals depressed by fishing pressure and it is projected that goliathgrouper may live much longer, perhaps as much as 50 years. Photo © Don Maria Food Habits Goliath grouper feed largely on crustaceans (in particular spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs), fishes (including stingrays and parrot fishes), octopus, and young sea turtles.
However, the significance of this finding is of diminished value when one considers that transitional individuals are known to be rare amongst confirmed species of protogynous hermaphrodites, such as the red grouper (Epimetheus Mario) and gag (Mycteroperca microbes). Photo courtesy National Marine Fisheries Service In support of the notion that the species is a protogynous hermaphrodite is the fact that the largest Goliath groupers are invariably male. Spawning occurs during the summer months of July, August, and September throughout the goliathgrouper ’s range and is strongly influenced by the lunar cycle.
Ship wrecks, rock ledges, and isolated patch reefs are preferred spawning habitat. In the 1980s these aggregations reached a low of less than 10 individuals per site as fishing pressure greatly impacted this species.
Since receiving legislative protection the spawning aggregations of goliathgrouper have risen to 20-40 individuals per location. These pelagic larvae transform into benthic juveniles at lengths of one inch (2.5 cm), around 25 or 26 days after hatching.
In an 1884 work, “The fishes of the Florida Keys,” David Starr Jordan proposed the inclusion of the goliathgrouper in Epimetheus (Bloch 1793) and this combination remains in use today. Of incidental note is the fact that various authors have incorrectly spelled the specific epithet “Tamara” as “tiara.” The genus name comes from the Greek epinephelos translated as cloudy.
A number of authors treat the name Promiscuous Tamara as valid taxonomy for the goliathgrouper. This skilled ambush hunter can be found in shallow reef environments in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, where it feeds on crustaceans, rays, fish and even turtles.
This grouper is known to exhibit territorial behavior near its preferred spot on a reef or wreck, and may threaten intruders by shaking its body, opening its mouth wide or even using its swim bladder to make a loud booming noise 8 feet (240 cm) Crustaceans, especially spiny lobsters, as well as turtles, fish and stingrays Atlantic Ocean and eastern Pacific Ocean Shallow water The Goliath grouper reaches a length of 8 feet (240 cm) and the largest published weight is 1003 lbs.
The base of the soft dorsal and anal fins are covered with scales and thick skin. The juvenile Goliath grouper, which is less than 39 inches (100 cm), is tawny or yellowish-brown in color with irregular darker brown vertical bands.
The larger adult fish is gray or greenish with pale blotches and smaller dark brown or blackish spots scattered over the upper part of its head, body and pectoral fins. The goliathgrouper is capable of producing a loud booming noise, which may be used to defend territory or during courtship.
The Goliath grouper feeds primarily on crustaceans, especially spiny lobsters, as well as turtles, fish and stingrays. This species is an ambush hunter that feeds during the day, with increased activity during the low-light periods of dawn and dusk.
This is accompanied by rapidly expansion of its jaws and flaring of the gill covers which create a vacuum that sucks the prey into its mouth. The Goliath grouper occurs in the western Atlantic from Florida to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Populations began to decline in the 1960s when recreational SCUBA divers would swim up to the fearless fish and spear it at close range. This consists of a “threat display” to intruders by opening its mouth wide and shaking its body or producing a loud booming sound (see below).
The Goliath grouper will travel many miles during one or two months each year to mate in huge spawning aggregations at traditional breeding grounds. As the male approaches the female, its entire forebode, from the pectoral fins forward, turns pale, contrasting sharply with its dark rest of the body.
The eggs hatch into transparent larvae that quickly develop long spines and a large mouth. After drifting with the current for 25 to 45 days, the one-inch larvae settle to the bottom in shallow-water mangrove habitats where they hide while completing metamorphosis into juveniles.
Large areas of mangrove forests are vital for the larvae and juveniles until they reach 30 lbs. Due to short dive times at depths of 100 feet or more, there have been few recorded observations of the courtship of the Goliath grouper.
The giant of the grouper family, the Goliath (formerly called Jewish) has brown or yellow mottling with small black spots on the head and fins, a large mouth with jawbones that extend well past its small eyes, and a rounded tail. The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage.
If a large Goliath is brought on-board a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested. Goliath grouper populations declined throughout their range during the 1970s and 1980s due to increased fishing pressure from commercial and recreational fishers and divers.
At their July 2014 meeting in Key Largo, this committee reviewed the most up-to-date scientific information on goliathgrouper and recommended a new stock assessment for this species. As a result, the most recent stock assessment, conducted by the FCC was completed in June 2016 (Sedan 47).
The stock assessment indicates abundance in south Florida has greatly increased since the fishery closed in 1990. However, in the final step of the review process, the assessment was rejected by an independent panel of scientists for use in federal management due to a lack of reliable indicators of abundance outside south Florida.
Goliath are also susceptible to large scale mortality events such as cold temperatures and red tide blooms. When not feeding or spawning, adult Goliath groupers are generally solitary, sedentary and territorial.
Before the goliathgrouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel and moray eels, as well as sandbar and hammerhead sharks. Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest.
Reproductive maturity first occurs in fish 5 or 6 years of age (about 36 inches in length) due to their slow growth rate. Males mature at a smaller size (about 42 inches) and slightly younger age than females.
These groups occur at consistent sites such as wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish may move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.
In southwest Florida, presumed courtship behavior has been observed during the full moons in August and September. Epimetheus Tamara may be a widespread, slow growing, and aggregating species that has undergone vital population reduction over the past three generations (40.5 years) calculable to be a minimum of 80th based on landings information and underwater visual censuses.
Despite clear and promising signs of recovery in us waters following the 1990 moratorium, the will increase in numbers noted area unit young and juvenile fish (the species takes five to six years to become sexually mature). The goliathgrouper occurs within the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and also the Caribbean Sea.
This marine fish inhabits shallow, inshore waters with mud, rock or coral bottoms and is infrequently found below depths of 46 meters. It’s territorial close to areas of refuge like caves, wrecks, and ledges, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders.
These teams occur at consistent sites like wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish could move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.
In southwest Florida, plausible entreaty behavior has been observed during the complete moons in August and September. Occurring in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet (46 m), the Epimetheus Tamara prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms.
It’s a classic apex predator, large, rare and solely some people occur on any given reef unit. As with other fish, the Atlantic goliathgrouper is the host of several species of parasites, including the diplectanid monogenean Pseudorhabdosynochus Americans on its gills.
Calico crabs frame the bulk of their diet, with alternative invertebrate species and fish filling within the rest. Goliath grouper feed mostly on crustaceans (in particular spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs), fishes (including stingrays and parrot fishes), octopus, and young ocean turtles.
All Goliath Groupers are born female, and can naturally choose to change their gender later in their life. They are bottom dwelling fish that get their food from particles that drift down.
Although they are Saltwater Fish by nature, Jeremy caught both a Giant and a GoliathGrouper in River mouths. The GoliathGrouper only appeared once in Season 4, when Jeremy caught one on accident in Florida while fishing for a Bull Shark.
Select fish and enter length in inches: Taken as a group, the grouper is one of the most popular game and table fish in all of Key West.
Here is your guide to everything you need to know about the most common varieties of grouper to be found in the water around Key West. You and your party will have a wonderful time with Captain Pepe’s Key West Charter Fishing.
First, its mild, delectable flavor makes the black grouper an excellent table fish. You can find the occasional black grouper further north along the Atlantic Coast, but they’re much more abundant in the Bahamas, here in the Florida Keys, and in the Caribbean.
Their coloring is quite variable, ranging from an olive green to a splotchy gray with dazzling patterns that emanate from the eyeball and radiate toward the tail in very complex lines. Because of its incredible size, the Jewish or Goliath grouper might be the most impressive member of the grouper family.
Unfortunately, because they’re considered an endangered species, the Jewish is catch and release only at the current time. They tend to stay at depths of less than 200 feet and like to swim near rocky formations and shipwrecks.
But if you want to give the Jewish a shot, bring along your heaviest tackle and some 100-pound test line just to be sure. For bait, you should only use live fish under 15 pounds, as artificial lures and jigs pretty much never work.
Important for both commercial and leisure fishing, the red grouper is as tasty as its black counterpart and is the centerpiece for a practically endless list of delicious recipes. Just like its name says, the red grouper has a brown to reddish tint and is frequently marked by occasional white spots.
Despite its relatively small size, the red grouper can be a fairly aggressive fish. This popularity is mostly due to the fact that the gag is considered to have the best flavor in the grouper family, but the strict regulations on catching them contribute to it as well.
It usually presents a mottled, gray color, but you’ll sometimes find a gag with markings that look like a black grouper ’s radiating patterns. Like other grouper, the gag can often be found near rocks, ledges, coral reefs, and shipwrecks.
They’re not the easiest grouper to catch, but with heavy tackle and a good guide, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. We had a tremendous time with Capt Pepe and would highly recommend him to anyone looking to fish while in Key West.
He is extremely personable, his boat and equipment are top-notch, and he kept the fishing action hot all day. My girlfriend and I fished a 1/2 day and it was the BEST part of our recent trip to KW.
She hooked into a nice sized bar jack and had a blast fighting it to the boat. During any break in the action, we had a great time talking with Pepe about his various experiences being a capt in KW.
The boat was in immaculate condition and Captain Pepe kept us entertained with fishing stories all afternoon. Captain Pepe went above and beyond the Call of Duty with his hospitality and easy going nature.