The video, shot by his wife using a GoPro 3, shows the hefty fish as he nips at the man's flipper, tearing it off, and then goes straight for his catch with its powerful jaw. But, even if the diver wasn't familiar with that specific size of this type of fish, Goliath groupers have been known to roam western Atlantic waters near Florida.
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.
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. To reduce by catch, there are restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish.
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. The red grouper is a reversal, largely sedentary species which has an extended (~40 day) pelagic larval stage before it settles in shallow coastal hard bottom habitat as juveniles.
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. 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.
“Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico” (PDF). ^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R.
# of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Dark side of the moon I've never dived with a Grouper but it seems commercial divers are terrified by them! # of Dives: 500 – 999 Location: Metro New York As far as I know groupers are only dangerous if you eat them.
Large groupers in the Caribbean are linked to increased risk of Cautery poisoning. In my limited experience the most aggressive fishes I've run into are spade fish, Bermuda chubby and of course damsel fishes, which are more annoying than dangerous.
Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. # of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Cape Cod, MA I agree that if you don't mes with them, they won't mess with you.
That’s like a silver back gorilla that can swim, only with less hair and a severely diminished tree-swinging ability. While Goliath groupers really aren’t any danger to humans, they will pretty much take what ever they want, like that fat bully that shoves kids into lockers and takes their money, then goes home and cries because he’s lonely.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus lanceolatus Synonyms Holocentrus lanceolatus Bloch, 1790 Promiscuous lanceolatus (Bloch, 1790) Serra nus lanceolatus (Bloch, 1790) Serra nus geographic us Valentines, 1828 Serra nus abdominal is Peters, 1855 Barracks gigs Gunther, 1869 Rigorous Goliath DE Vi's, 1882 Serra nus phaeostigmaeus Fowler, 1907 Stereolepoides Thompson Fowler, 1923 The giant grouper has a robust body which has a standard length equivalent to 2.4 to 3.4 times its depth.
The dorsal profile of the head and the intraorbital area are convex, The properly has a rounded corner and a finely serrated margin. The gill cover has a convex upper margin.
There are 11 spines and 14-16 soft rays in the dorsal fin while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays. The adults are greyish-brown in color overlain with a mottled pattern and with darker fins.
The giant grouper can grow to huge size with the maximum recorded standard length being 270 centimeters (110 in), although they are more common around 180 centimeters (71 in). And a maximum published weight of 400 kilograms (880 lb).
The giant grouper is a species of shallow water and can be found at depths of 1 to 100 meters (3.3 to 328.1 ft). Large specimens have been caught from shore and in harbors.
They are found in caves and in wrecks while the secretive juveniles occur in reefs and are infrequently observed. The adults are mainly solitary and hold territories on the outer reef and in lagoons.
They have also been caught in turbid water over silt or mud sea beds by prawn fishermen. The giant grouper is an opportunistic ambush predator which feeds on a variety of fishes, as well as small sharks, juvenile sea turtles, crustaceans and mollusks which are all swallowed whole.
Fish which inhabit coral reefs and rocky areas favor spiny lobsters as prey and 177 centimeters (70 in) specimen taken of Maui in Hawaii had a stomach contents of two spiny lobsters and a number of crabs. Fish living in estuaries environments in South Africa were found to be feeding almost exclusively on the crab Scylla errata.
They are, however, curious and frequently approach divers closely. They are not generally considered dangerous to humans but divers are advised to treat large specimens with caution and not to hand feed them.
They are aggregate broadcast spawners, usually with several females per male. Studies in captive populations suggest that the dominant male and female begin the spawning event as nearly the only spawners for the first day or two, but other members of the aggregation fertilize more eggs as the event progresses, with even the most recently turned males fathering offspring.
Giant groupers are diabetic protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that although some males develop from reproductively functional females other males start to produce sperm without ever having gone through a phase as a reproductive female. The giant grouper is a highly valued food fish and is taken by both commercial and recreational fisheries.
As well as the consumption of its flesh its skin, gall bladder and stomach are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is valued in Hong Kong as a live fish for the live reef food fish trade, especially smaller specimens.
This species is cultured in agriculture and this practice is widespread but there is a restricted supply of juveniles, although hatcheries in Taiwan have produced captive bred juveniles, exporting some for to be grown on in other parts of South-East Asia. Many of the fish produced in aquaculture are hybrids between this species and E. fuscoguttatus.
Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephrine). “A study into parental assignment of the communal spawning protogynous hermaphrodite, giant grouper (Epimetheus lanceolatus)”.
^ Peter Palma; Akihito Nakamura; Garden XYZ Libunaoa; et al. (2019). “Reproductive development of the threatened giant grouper Epimetheus lanceolatus “.
^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R. Grouper is a salt-water fish, found on the menu in restaurants and within stores throughout the United States.
There are three varieties available that vary in flavor and price: red grouper, true black grouper, and gag. For a mild-tasting fish, it has very high levels of oil, which offers a pleasant buttery mouthfeel.
CharacteristicDescriptionTasteMild tasting with a faintly sweet undertoneTextureFirm, large flakesFishinessLow levelsOilinessHigh levelsColorWhite, once cooked The smaller size impacts the taste of the red grouper as it has a milder, sweeter flavor.
The black grouper has a firmer texture and yields more edible fish content than the red variety. If you don’t have a reliable source for fresh grouper, consider buying the frozen product.
Its high levels of oil help it maintain a lovely moist texture even if it’s a little over-cooked. It’s also tasty eaten on its own, on skewers, with a zesty lemon marinade, a creamy tartare sauce, or a combination of butter, garlic, and lime juice.
The debate for whether grouper is best eaten with batter, crumbed, floured, or with nothing added will always rage on. Blackening is a quick and straightforward method that produces moist fish encased in a flavor-packed coating.
Although blackening is suited to outdoor grilling, you can also cook the fish in the oven or fry it in a pan. Preheat a large skillet on the grill or stove top on high heat for at least 10 minutes.
Rinse the fish fillets in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Once all the ingredients are evenly distributed, transfer the mixture to a platter or large plate.
As groupers are a reef-dwelling fish, they have the potential to be contaminated by toxins, which can lead to Ciguatera poisoning. Your best option to avoid getting sick is to check with the seller if the fish comes from a hotspot for Ciguatera.
Some problem areas include the Caribbean Sea, Hawaii, and coastal Central America. A gulf grouper is a unique tasting, moist fish that is endemic to Mexico.
It has a subtle, sweet flavor with less fishy taste than black grouper or gag. It is prized for its moist meat that easily flakes into big chunks once cooked.
Grouper is considered to be a white fish, along with haddock, catfish, tilapia, and snapper. It’s relatively high oil content makes it a simple fish to avoid overcooking.
It is a blank canvas that allows the creative cook to pair exciting ingredients with the fish. If you enjoy fish that isn’t too full of flavor then you might also like to check out our sea bass guide.
A huge fish with a hard fight that will test you and your strongest tackle? These beasts of the deep hit like no other fish in the world and will strain even the strongest fisherman.
There is a reason that many people in South Florida seem to give up on all other species and target grouper specifically. While some people describe the fight as “like a large catfish,” this is like saying that a monster truck is “like a car.” The initial hit will bury the butt of your rod in your gut and leave you breathless.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a man made reef or natural, this is the preferred habitat. You can also find them near drop-offs, rock structure, and the steeper sides of shipping channels.
No matter the size, the grouper is a stout fish with a lot of strength. Their strength combined with their massive mouth makes them an outstanding ambush predator.
Normal foods are mostly baitfish, but they have been known to feed on crustaceans, squid, and just about anything else that gets too close. These makes bait selection for grouper quite easy as they will eat most anything if it gets close enough.
In the cooler months, grouper are likely to move closer to shore but there is no season that you can’t land one. On cooler, sunny days you can find good grouper fishing in as little as 15 feet of water.
The reel needs to be heavy and capable of holding 80 to 100-pound test line. You will need the strength of this setup to get the bests off the bottom or out of the holes they often run to when hooked.
You can successfully fish groper with a spinning reel as long as its heavy duty and can hold the right line. I’m pretty sure that even the largest wire hook would be straightened by a large grouper.
Either braided or mono main line works as long as it’s strong enough and you have a good leader. Being more abrasion resistant is a bonus when your quarry lives in rocky holes.
The following three are general purpose rigs that will work well for Grouper or any other bottom feeding species. This simple setup uses a three-way swivel with one loop attached to your mainline, one sinker, and one to your leader.
A heavier leader is preferred but the line to the sinker should be relatively light so it can be broken off if need be. The sinker will slide closer to the swivel as the bait settles.
This takes any slack out of the leader and gives you a shot at setting the hook before the fish darts back to cover. This rig offers any live bait more room to move and works well to draw out reluctant feeders.
In this case, the sinker is attached to the mainline above the swivel, usually by simply looping the line through. The main downside of this rig is that it gives a grouper plenty of time to get back home before you get the hook set.
Sardines are probably the most successful live bait, especially if caught fresh with a net or bait fish rig. Due to the noise they make, many fishermen swear by using live grunts as an at tractor for grouper.
Blue Runners are another popular fish if you are after larger grouper species. Grouper are not a picky species and will most anything including lady fish, menhaden, squirrel fish, and thread fin just to name a few.
Crab is a less popular bait for grouper but can work well of a bottom rig, especially for shallower water species. One of the biggest problems with using lures is getting down deep enough without getting hopelessly caught on the structure they call home.
While they are effective, you may need to add a piece of shrimp or other bait to the jig. Buck tails fished the same way can produce some good hits, especially with juvenile or smaller grouper.
Patterns that imitate sardine, mullet, and pinkish are probably the most popular and successful options. I will admit that I am a big fan of fishing spoons in general, I think they are an underrated lure option.
Getting hung up is a real concern with spoons but if you drag one in front of a grouper, there is a good chance he is going to take it. Grouper are not a fast fish and may ignore lures that move by too quickly.
Moderate your speed and pauses, you can expect more hits when the bait is left idle for a second. Though normally associated with open water fish, trolling is an excellent tactic to cover a lot of ground in your search for grouper.
You will have to factor in fuel cost but you may find it worthwhile to spend the extra money for a more likely catch. Off the coast of Miami, trolling for grouper has become a big part of the local fishing scene.
The idea is to get a large lipped diving plug and send it down to skim the sand in 20 to 30 feet of water. Your trolling speed should be slow and your lure should be running less than 20 feet from the abundant rock structure in the area.
If you pass your lure close by a waiting grouper, it is more than likely that he will rush out to grab it the moment he sees it. The Tampa fishermen will run the sides of shipping channels with a live bait suspend just along the steep edge.
Controlling your depth to keep it in range of the channel wall without getting it hung up requires some skill. The boat will easily haul them out of range of their cover and all that’s left is the fight.
If there are grouper, trolling is an effective tactic provided you can get a lure down deep enough. Usually, you will see fishermen using either live bait or large lipped diving plugs when trolling.
It may be worth a try just keep it slow so the scent of the bait has some time to spread. Keep your speed low, your lure deep, and stay close to structure.
If you get a hit from a large grouper, it may feel like you are hung up until it yanks hard on the line. That critical moment of the bite is your only shot at a solid hooks set.
After the shock of your first large grouper catch, the first order of business may be shaking some life back into your arms. It will surprise you just how hard a 20-pound grouper can pull compared to any other fish you have ever hooked.
It’s incredibly important to get ample omega-3 fatty acids, and certain fish can serve as potent sources. But due to issues like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water and building up in our fish.
Unfortunately, low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a real threat and can lead to devastating effects on health. In fact, the shift to eating more farmed fish like tilapia is leading to highly inflammatory diets, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers say tilapia is one of the most widely consumed fish in America. Sustaining high levels of inflammation in the body can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disorders and may be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
If you must eat this fish, avoid tilapia from China, where farming practices are particularly worrisome. In 2014, Oceana, the largest ocean conservation group in the world, conducted an investigation using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
They found that commercial fishermen in the U.S. throw about 2 billion pounds of “by catch” overboard each year. According to the report, if you’ve eaten U.S. halibut, there’s a good chance it came from this damaging fishery.
Without further protection and enforcement of existing efforts, we may forever lose one of the biggest, most interesting fishes in the world. Now common on menus around the U.S., Chilean sea bass overfishing has left this species in serious trouble.
Furthermore, harvesting the fish from Chile is also plagued by poor management and by catch problems. Eel Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch places eel on the “Avoid” list on its sushi guide because it’s slow to mature and has been overfished in many parts of the world, bringing some populations to collapse.
In the Delaware River, for instance, eels are an integral part of spreading mussel populations that serve as natural water filters. Aside from the issues with overfishing, eels tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCs) and flame retardants.
They’re also commonly treated with a broad range of antibiotics, in addition to pesticides and disinfectants. In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp that could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women.
Shrimp farm ponds are also treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides such as malachite green, rote none and organic compounds, all of which can have detrimental effects on health. Plus, an Associated Press investigation uncovered a slavery network in Thailand dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world.
In 2007, Thailand alone exported about $1.24 billion to the United States, according to Food and Water Watch. Although Alaskan king crab legs legally can only be called that if they’re harvested from Alaska, widespread mislabeling is the norm.
Generally known as “slime head” within the scientific community, seafood marketers had other ideas for this fish and gave the species a more appetizing name. Since orange roughly don’t reach sexual maturity until at least 20 years old, they are very slow to recovery.
According to Oceana: “The extremely long lifespan and the late age at maturity imply that a decimated population may take a half century or longer before it can recover.” Beyond that, the orange roughly is also known to have higher mercury levels, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts.
But apart from that, most shark species, which are slow to mature and don’t have a lot of offspring, are severely depleted. Often referred to as Hon Mauro on sushi menus, this simply means blue fin tuna, which should be avoided at all costs.
A better sushi choice would be fatso/skip jack tuna caught through Pacific troll or pole and line methods only. However, due to its high demand for sushi, fisheries managers are still allowing commercial fishing to target it.
Sadly, blue fin tuna numbers are at just 2.6 percent of historic population levels. Aside from the obvious population collapse and extinction threat, this is also a large predatory fish that harbors higher levels of mercury.
In fact, the mercury in this fish is so high that the Environmental Defense Fund recommends women and children avoid it altogether. That’s certainly the case with king mackerel, as the Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to outright avoid it.
You may want to avoid Spanish mackerel, too, which has also been shown to harbor elevated mercury levels. Luckily, Atlantic mackerel is high in omega-3s, low in mercury and is rated a top choice in terms of health and sustainability.
In 2015, an investigation found that more than a third of 19 restaurants in Atlanta sold fantasies (also known as “Vietnamese catfish”) as grouper. Testing also found that grouper for sale is actually often king mackerel or white fin weakfish, a cheaper alternative.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, sturgeon are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” The best fish options are ones that come from sustainable fisheries, are low in contaminants and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch calls this the “Super Green List.” In addition to being rich in heart-healthy fats, salmon is a great source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Atlantic mackerel This oily fish is also high in health omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12. Keep in mind that mackerel is often sold preserved in tons of salt, so be sure to soak it and rinse well before cooking and eating to reduce sodium levels.
Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia) Sable fish/Black Cod (from Alaska and Canadian Pacific) Finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors, including sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and the risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals.