A 16-year-old girl who went deep-sea fishing recently for only her second time, reeled up an estimated 583-pound goliathgrouper, which dwarfs the women’s world record for the species. “I was, like, in shock pretty much,” Reagan Werner told the Trinities Pioneer Press on Saturday.
Werner, who is from Farmington, Minn., was fishing May 31 near Marco Island off Florida with her brother, mother, and stepfather. “These things have amazing power,” Paul Hartman, Werner’s stepfather, told the Pioneer Press.
According to the International Game Fish Assn., the heaviest goliathgrouper caught by a woman weighed 366 pounds. That fish, caught by Betsy Walker off Panama in 1965, is the women’s world record for 80-pound-test line.
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.
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.
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.
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. Underwater photograph taken at the Cab Pull Marine Reserve, East Cape, Baja California Sur, August 2003.
Mark commented: We sighted this huge fish at a dive site called Las Capital. The Pacific GoliathGrouper, Epimetheus quinquefasciatus, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, that is known in Mexico as hero gig ante.
Globally, there are 100 species in the genus Epimetheus, of which 11 are found in Mexican waters, 6 in the Atlantic and 5 in the Pacific Ocean. Specimens less than 1.0 m (3 feet 3 inches) in length are a greenish-brown color with a series of oblique dark brown bars along their sides.
Larger fish are gray-green with a series of pale blotches and smaller dark brown spots scattered over their upper body, head, and pectoral fins. They are highly territorial and feed predominately on crustaceans and lobsters, sea turtles, stingrays, and small fish.
The Pacific Goliath Groupers is a resident of Mexican waters of the Pacific but has a limited distribution being found from Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, southward along the southwest coast of Baa, in the lower two-thirds of the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala. From a conservation perspective the Pacific GoliathGrouper is currently considered to be Data Deficient and have not been formally evaluated.
However, they are a major target of both commercial and recreational fishermen and due to this intense fishing pressure, they have undergone severe population reductions over the past 30 years. Contributing to the demise of this species is the fact that small individuals, landed only occasionally, fetch high market prices.
Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Tackle Japan Taylor posted a video of himself on Twitter reeling in a huge, monster fish that has since gone viral.