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How Deep Do Goliath Groupers Live

author
Ava Flores
• Tuesday, 29 December, 2020
• 8 min read

The Atlantic Goliath grouper 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.

(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Contents

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 goliathgroupers 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 Goliath grouper 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.

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(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

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 Goliath grouper 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 Goliath grouper 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.

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(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

^ 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. Reefs are considered healthier if you see one of us swimming around because we help maintain balance in the ecosystem.

I use my large mouth to suck in whole fish or invertebrates, then swallow them right away. Scientists estimate that historical overfishing decreased our numbers by about 80%, and it’s been a long road to recovery.

After they’re fertilized, the eggs drift around in the currents until they finally hatch. While these massive spawning events are a blast because I get together with all my friends, historically it has been a dangerous time for us because it’s easy then for fishermen to catch us in big numbers.

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(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

Thankfully, due to a moratorium on fishing, our spawning aggregations are returning to historical numbers and the condition of our stock is improving! Reaching lengths of at least 8 feet (2.5 m) and weights up to 700 pounds (320 kg), this species is one of the largest predators on coral reefs and along mangrove forests in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the largest groupers in the world.

However, during reproduction (immediately after the full moons between June and December), they come together in groups of at least 100 individuals. These groups are known as spawning aggregations, and they form at relatively few places throughout the species’ range.

Though they were likely naturally rare, scientists believe that destructive fishing practices have reduced the numbers of the Atlantic goliathgroupers by at least 80% and that the species is now critically endangered. These fish utilize the same, few locations and same, few days for spawning every year, so their presence is quite predictable.

Furthermore, a total lack of fear of people makes them an easy target for spear fishers. Finally, the Atlantic Goliath grouper’s large size, slow growth, and ease of capture all contribute to slow its recovery, even where laws have been put in place to give it some or complete legal protection from fishing (e.g., in the USA and Brazil).

It is important to continue to monitor Atlantic Goliath grouper population trends in order to determine whether the species is recovering or if stronger legal protection may be required. Scientists only recently divided the species into two, based on their slightly different genetic makeup.

grouper goliath fishing charter boca grande
(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

The two species are similar in both appearance and behavior, but little is known about the population trends or conservation status of the Pacific Goliath grouper. Along all the coasts of Florida and the Bahamas, from inshore estuaries out to the deepest waters offshore Groupers are found.

They are the most widely available of the game fish and also offer a great number of differing varieties. The species have now started to make a comeback and have been renamed Goliath Grouper) are the most widely distributed.

Most of the other species, Nassau, Red Hind, Black, Yellow fin and Scamp live in and around the coral reefs of the extreme south of Florida. Groupers live close to the bottom and are always associated with some type of submerged structure i.e. reef or wreck.

Goliath and Nassau grouper are protected from harvest in Florida waters. Adults inhabit rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young occur inshore in waters around seagrass beds, mangrove forests and hard-bottom communities.

Adults inhabit rocky bottoms, reefs and drop-off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young occur inshore in waters around seagrass beds, mangrove forests and hard-bottom communities. Grouper are born as females but can later become male. Goliath and Nassau grouper are protected from harvest in Florida waters.

goliath grouper fishing charter boca grande
(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

Grouper spawn between January and May with some of the more tropical species spawning year-round. Grouper fishing from a boat typically involves baits fished near the bottom, with heavy tackle and heavier to bring grouper to the surface. They feed on squid, crustaceans, and fish. The Florida record is 42lbs 4ozs caught near St. Augustine Inlet.

Kevin Kelly displays a Goliath Grouper killed unfortunately by RED TIDE in 2005. We found this 400lb monster floating on the surface at the entrance to the Segment Channel.

Jewish now known as the Goliath Grouper (Epimetheus Tamara) can attain weight up to 800lbs and is more common in the south of Florida than the north. Goliath Troopers are found nearshore often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges.

Goliath Grouper spawn over summer months and have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. Nassau grouper form large spawning aggregations, making this species highly vulnerable to over harvest.

The species is found in tropical and subtropical waters as deep as 400 feet, from North Carolina to Brazil, including the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Spawning occurs from March to July, and females release an average of 90 thousand to 3 million pelagic eggs.

grouper targeting central florida goliath boy
(Source: www.bdoutdoors.com)

The species may live up to 17 years or longer, and reach a length of 23 inches and a weight of 10 pounds. Red hind feed on small fishes, crabs, shrimps and squid.

Red hind will hide in holes and crevices and capture their prey by ambushWorld record 6lbs 1oz. Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep.

Black grouper spawn between May and August, and they are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger. Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths, and they feed on fish and squid.

Undergoes sex reversal from female to male in latter part of life; specific name translates to “venomous,” alluding to the fact that this fish, perhaps more frequently than other groupers, is associated with ciguatera poisoning; feeds on fish and squid. Florida record 34lbs 6oz caught near Key Largo. Yellow mouth Grouper (Mycteroperca interstitial is) has a color tan or brown with darker spots, or a network of spots, fused into lines; distinct yellow wash behind the jaws; yellow around the eyes; outer edges of fins yellowish.

Found OFFSHORE over reefs and rocks; not as common as scamp in the Gulf; range limited to southern Florida. Undergoes sex reversal, young individuals female, older individuals becoming male; young fish are bi-colored, dark above white below; feeds on small fish and crustaceans.

charter grouper goliath fishing
(Source: www.ugonnafish.com)

Warsaw Grouper (Epimetheus nitrites) is uniformly dark brown, with no distinct markings; dorsal fin with 10 spines; second spine very long (much longer than third); caudal fin squared-off; rear nostril larger than front nostril; young have yellow caudal fin with dark saddle on caudal peduncle; some whitish spots on body. On May 24th 2014, Cullen Greer reeled in a six-and-a-half-foot-long, 297-pound Warsaw grouper while fishing in Venice, Louisiana.

The most shocking part of this story may be that it won't go down as the largest fish ever caught in the state. If the catch does get verified by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, it would become the fifth-largest ever caught in the state.

It could also go down in the state record books as the third-largest Warsaw caught by a hand crank, according to Greer. Leaders need be substantial as these fish are usually on the large size and dive straight back into the whole in which they live.

As the State Regulations are in constant flux we advise anglers to refer to www.MyFWC.com/fishing for the latest information.

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2 www.tripadvisor.com - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34467-d393192-Reviews-Gulf_Coast_Grouper_Chips-Naples_Florida.html
3 www.menupix.com - https://www.menupix.com/florida/restaurants/872744/Grouper-and-Chips-Naples-FL
4 www.tripadvisor.co.za - https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Restaurant_Review-g34467-d393192-Reviews-Gulf_Coast_Grouper_Chips-Naples_Florida.html
5 www.superpages.com - https://www.superpages.com/bp/naples-fl/grouper-chips-L0129672571.htm
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