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Home > Catching a 500 Pound Bass Goliath Grouper

Catching a 500 Pound Bass Goliath Grouper

Atlantic Goliath Grouper

The Atlantic goliath grouper  is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family. It is commonly known as the jewfish; however, in 2001 the Committee on Names of Fishes, a seven-member joint committee of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and the American Fisheries Society made the decision to change the name to "goliath grouper". Genus Epinephelus also includes the Pacific goliath grouper.

The goliath grouper is found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths of up to 165 feet. Their range includes the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and practically all of the Brazilian coast, where they are known as mero. On some occasions, it is caught in New England off Maine and Massachusetts, but not commonly. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from Congo to Senegal.

AtlanticGoliathGrouperOld.jpg (350250)Atlantic Goliath Grouper.jpg (350250)

They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths of 8.2 feet and can weigh as much as 800 pounds. The world record for a hook and line-captured specimen is 680 pounds, caught off Fernandina Beach, Florida, in 1961. They are usually around 400 pounds when mature. Considered of fine food quality, goliath grouper were a highly sought after quarry for fishermen of all types. The goliath grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature makes it a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen. They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning like clockwork to the same locations, making them particularly vulnerable to mass harvesting. Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline. The goliath grouper is entirely protected from harvest and is recognized as a critically endangered species by the World Conservation Union. The U.S. began protection in 1990, and the Caribbean in 1993. The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, it will take some time for populations to return to their previous levels.


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