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How Can Red Grouper Have

author
James Smith
• Thursday, 08 October, 2020
• 14 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.

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. Minimum size limits protect immature red grouper.

Similar Species: Nassau grouper, E. stratus (large black spot on caudal peduncle) 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.

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Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Mario Synonyms Serra nus Mario Valentines, 1828 Serra nus erythrogaster Delay, 1842 Serra nus lurid us Tanzania, 1842 Serra nus remotes Play, 1860 Serra nus angustifrons Standalone, 1864 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. 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.

Spawning occurs offshore between January and June, peaking in May. 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.

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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. 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. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Mario.

Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce. “Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico” (PDF).

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^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R. The red grouper is one of the most important species of fish caught off the southeast coast of the Unite States.

Color is variable and can change, however the head and body are generally dark brown with a reddish cast, shading to pink or reddish below, with pale poorly defined pale areas and small black spots around the eye. The soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins are dark with narrow white edges.

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Smaller gag are a lot of lighter in coloring, and have numerous dark brown, or charcoal, kiss-like marks along their sides. “Adult gag grouper, live over on top of low- and high-profile hard bottom such as reefs or shipwrecks in waters between 60-250 feet deep,” said McLean Seward, fisheries biologist with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.

“Young gag grouper will live in oyster reefs, estuaries and seagrass beds from Massachusetts to Cape Canaveral, Florida. The coloration of red grouper helps to distinguish this species from gag with its head and body being dark reddish brown, shading pink or reddish or even pale pink along the lower part of its body,” Nash said.

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“In North Carolina, gag will typically spawn in February and have clear larvae, which then make their way into estuaries. As water temperatures start to go down in the fall, juvenile gag will migrate from estuaries to offshore hard bottom habitat and larger members of their species,” said Seward.

Seward noted that all grouper are considered protogynous intersex, “that is they start their lives as females, and a part of the population will morph, or make the change, to males as they get older. Females start to reach sexual maturity when they are about 24 inches in total length and about 3 years old.

They are voracious predators, and will feed on whatever they can capture including scad, snapper, grunt, sardines, crabs, porgies, shrimp and squid, said Seward. Red grouper sitting on sand habitat 45 degrees to camera full body view mouth open.

In addition to their color, redgroupercan be distinguished from gag by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin. “The red grouper is also a protogynous intersex and females are sexually mature by the time they reach 4 years old,” Seward said.

Females typically will let go an average of 1.5 million pelagic eggs that stay at the surface for between 30-40 days before finally settling down to the bottom. “ Red grouper may live to be as old as 25 years of age, with older specimens reaching a size of 32.5 inches and up to 25 pounds.

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They will feed on lobster, shrimp, octopus, crabs and fish that are found close to their preferred reef habitat,” Seward said. Bottom fishing is the best way to catch gag grouper, using live bait, including squid and cigar minnows.

Use a depth finder to find deep-water rock ledges, artificial reefs and shipwrecks, a gag grouper ’s favorite hiding place. Recreational and commercial fishermen are required to use hooking tools when fishing for the snapper grouper species.

“This prohibition does not apply to fish harvested, landed and sold before the annual catch limit is reached and held in cold storage by a dealer,” said North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Executive Assistant to Councils Steve Poland, who is also a representative with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Charter and head boat and commercial snapper grouper vessels must have National Marine Fisheries Service-approved sea turtle release gear and adhere to small tooth saw fish release protocol, Poland added.

While populations of gag grouper have remained healthy, a 10-year effort to rebuild the red grouper stock has failed, leading to new, stricter rules and regulations taking effect this year. Therefore, on Sept. 27, 2017, NFS sent a letter to the council stating that the South Atlantic red grouper stock was not making adequate progress toward rebuilding.

So, NFS took steps in 2018 to immediately end overfishing of red grouper by reducing the total commercial and recreational annual catch limits, based on the acceptable biological catch recommendation from the council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee. “For red grouper, this final rule extends the closure season formerly from January to April, to January through May of each year for the next ten years for the commercial and recreational portions off North and South Carolina, and establishes a commercial trip limit,” said Poland.

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This final rule establishes a commercial trip limit for red grouper harvested in the South Atlantic EEA of 200 pounds, gutted weight. The trip limit is expected to help rebuild the red grouper stock by discouraging directed commercial fishing for the species, although it is not likely to substantially reduce the current level of commercial harvest of red grouper, according to the National Register.

“The council selected a commercial trip limit that in combination with extending the spawning season cloture for red grouper off North Carolina and South Carolina would help keep down harvest numbers to help rebuild the stock,” Poland said. You can help pay some cost by sponsoring a day on CRO for as little as $100 or by donating any amount you're comfortable with.

Scientific Livestock Status RecreationalCommercialSeasonClosed February 1 through March 31 beyond 20 fathoms (120 ft or 36.6 m), Open in January and April 1 through December 31. Season Red grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (If) program. Anyone commercially fishes for red grouper must possess allocation and follow established protocols.

Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30 longitude. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits.

(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SG). The recreational sector for SG, in or from the Gulf EEA, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEA seaward of thumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table.

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During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SG in or from the Gulf EEA seaward of the following thumb lines is zero. Red grouper is present in the Western Atlantic from the Carolina's south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda; however, it is most abundant in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

In general, red grouper is a dark brown color with a reddish hue on its back and sides, fading to a pale pink underneath. The anal, dorsal and tail fins have dark margins.

The spawning season occurs anywhere from January to early June depending on the area. Obama, S., B. Eris man, W. Haman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnataka, and J. Brenner.

Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Sedan 61 Gulf of Mexico Red Grouper Final Stock Assessment Report, 2019 Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F.

(2016), Stock Complexes for Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. Doi: 10.1080/19425120.2015.1024359 Like, E. and R. Myers, 1994.

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Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. 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.

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.

Redgrouperhave 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.

This process provides habitat to other species such as spiny lobster, black grouper, red porgy, and vermilion snapper. Their grouper habitat utilization investigation looks at seasonal movement patterns in an attempt to improve populations and fishery management.

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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. 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.

Fresh grouper is highly sought-after both by restaurants and by individuals looking to make a good meal. The meat is firm with a relatively high moisture and oil content.

The flavor is generally sweet, with the red grouper being a bit sweeter than black grouper. All grouper species are considered by chefs to have an ideal flavor for a number of dishes and preparation styles.

The dominant characteristic that makes grouper ’s food quality so high is its oil and moisture content. Compared to most other mild-tasting types of fish, grouper has a much higher oil and moisture content.

Grouper meat has a unique texture when compared to most other commonly eaten fish. High oil and moisture content keeps the large flakes firm, yet still tender.

Buttery, smooth, firm, and tender would be the best way to sum up grouper ’s texture in a few words. In our opinion, the variation between group species is small, but still notable enough to warrant some attention.

Truthfully, all but the most experienced seafood pros can tell the difference between red grouper and black grouper once the skin has been removed. You’ll commonly see gag lumped in with black in the seafood market due to its very similar flavor and texture.

The vast majority of what you’ll find in restaurants or stores will be a variety of red, black, and gag grouper. Black grouper have an especially high meat yield in relation to their weight.

Grouper ribs are large, making this process fairly simple. You’ll find a fleshy area that runs from right in front of the gill to right next to the grouper ’s eye, following along the line of the mouth.

Once you make it to the area next the grouper ’s eye, simply flip the cheek out and peel it off of the remaining attached skin. Thanks to the strong grouper culinary profile, they are a very flexible fish for cooking.

There is a wide variety of ways to cook and grouper pairs will with many flavors. This is yet another benefit of the high oil and moisture content within grouper meat.

Overcooking is definitely possible, but it’s much less common than it is when dealing with flakier, drier fish like snapper or sole. Grouper sandwiches are one of the most well-liked seafood staples in coastal areas and are always a good choice.

The immense popularity of grouper makes it extremely easy to find endless recipes in cookbooks and all across the web. If you’re an adventurous chef, the forgiving nature of grouper meat makes it an ideal choice for trying out new recipes and seafood creations.

If you’ve made it this far, you know just about everything you need to confidently order grouper at a restaurant or prepare it yourself at home. It really is one of the tastiest fish on the menu and I’ve known of plenty of seafood skeptics who still enjoy a good grouper filet.

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Sources
1 sportfishinglures.com - https://sportfishinglures.com/best-bait-for-red-snapper-and-grouper/
2 www.garcesfruit.com - https://www.garcesfruit.com/en/wp-content/3yiw3/article.php
3 www.reelfishingguru.com - http://www.reelfishingguru.com/five-of-the-best-fish-bait-types-for-catching-grouper/