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Goliath Grouper Reproduction

author
Carole Stephens
• Monday, 14 December, 2020
• 10 min read

Groupers are generally a friendly species and can be found patrolling artificial and coral reefs alike, primarily in shallow tropical waters. Goliath groupers navigate to an annual spawning for breeding, the season and location varies depending on the population.

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(Source: marinesanctuary.org)

Contents

In Florida, hatchlings join their brethren in safe spaces near coastal mangrove estuaries and spend their first six years of life dining exclusively on fish, crabs, and shrimp before heading out to open waters. The Goliath grouper grows slowly, attaining maturity around age 20-25, which is why it is important to manage fishing of the species; they need the chance to reach adulthood to reproduce in order to create a sustainable fishery.

The Goliath grouper is a key species in Florida waters because their presence is an indicator of health for local coral reefs. This particular species feeds by swallowing their prey whole, creating negative pressure that quickly them to bring in whole invertebrates, fish, and even smaller sharks.

Many grouper, manatees, and turtles were found washed ashore on Southwest Florida beaches during the red tides in 2003 and 2005. The good news is that as of 2006 the Goliath grouper ’s population had improved and was considered to be on a recovery trajectory due to the careful protection by NOAA Fisheries.

It has a broad head, round tail, small eyes, and short dorsal spines. The protection of mangrove habitat is essential for the survival of the goliathgrouper and other animals and plants living in the same community.

It takes goliathgrouper five to six years to reach sexual maturity and until that time, they remain in mangrove habitat. Goliath grouper are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, with individuals first maturing as females and then changing sex to become males.

(Source: www.fis.com)

The goliathgrouper faces several threats including overfishing, destruction of habitat, red tide, and cold temperatures. Because it takes so long for goliathgrouper to reach sexual maturity, they have trouble rebounding from these threats.

The Atlantic goliathgrouper or Tamara (Epimetheus Tamara), also known as the Jewish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft). 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.

grouper goliath florida aggregation
(Source: www.youtube.com)

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.

This makes them particularly vulnerable to mass harvesting while breeding. 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.

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(Source: helpthe7seas.blogspot.com)

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. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of Jewish Epimetheus Tamara in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

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.

It possesses a robust and elongated body, with a wide head in comparison to its small eyes. What’s more, the base of the dorsal fin stands out as being covered with scales and thick skin.

grouper goliath jonathan webisodes bird
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Its yellowish, grayish or olive-toned coloring with small spots help the Atlantic goliathgrouper blend into its environment. The majority of these gigantic fish live in deep waters, near rocky areas with coral and mud.

Their geographic location is, for the most part, the American coast from Florida down to southern Brazil. It’s also worth pointing out that there are also Atlantic Goliath groupers living along the African coast from Senegal to the Congo.

The enormous size of this fish, along with its great gastronomic value, make it a much sought-after catch for fishermen. However, its slow growth and low reproduction rate make it one of the most susceptible species to extinction.

The Atlantic goliathgrouper, whose scientific name is Epimetheus Tamara, is a grouper species characterized by its large dimensions. The Atlantic goliathgrouper goes by several other names, including Jewish and Tamara and many local nicknames.

Historically, its size has made it popular among fishers and merchants to the point that it became the object of recreational competitions. Furthermore, its meat stands out for its nutritional value and renowned taste, similar to that of the common grouper.

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(Source: www.hakaimagazine.com)

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2 www.theguardian.com - https://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2014/aug/21/huge-fish-eats-shark-off-florida-coast-video
3 igfa.org - https://igfa.org/2020/06/16/descending-devices-required-in-south-atlantic-to-help-snapper-grouper/
4 floridasportfishing.com - https://floridasportfishing.com/beer-battered-mystic-grouper/
5 fishingstatus.com - http://fishingstatus.com/fishing/species/fish/indexid/858408
6 anglr.com - https://anglr.com/fishing-blog/tag/grouper/
7 floridasfinestfishing.com - https://floridasfinestfishing.com/tag/grouper/
8 landsendmarina.com - https://landsendmarina.com/blog/2013/08/26/catch-gag-grouper-around-tampa-bay/