Goliath Grouper

Jake Jones

What's the name of this ugly creature?

Common Names:

- Goliath Grouper

- Jewfish (This was the original name. Bureaucrats changed the name because they thought it was offensive.) (Bacle, 2010)

- Giant Sea Bass

- Esonue Grouper

Scientific Name:

- Epinephelus itajara (Bacle, 2010)

Where are they found?

Eastern Atlantic Ocean:

- Can be found from Senegal to Congo

Western Atlantic Ocean:

- Gulf of Mexico (Florida) to Brazilian and Caribbean waters

- Rarely reported around the Canary Islands


- They can range from around 30 to 160 feet deep, and are always near some form of structure such as a reef, shipwreck, pilings, or possibly large rocks. (Holland, 2014)

What do they look like?

Characteristics of Young:

- Fertilized eggs form into kite-shaped larvae with long dorsal fin spines and pelvic fin spines

- They reach juvenile stage at about a month old and are usually confined to mangrove habitats

- Juveniles start at 2.5 cm and don't leave the mangroves until about 1 m in length.

Characteristics of Adults:

- Males mature at 4 to 6 years old, and females mature around 6 to 7 years old

- They begin reproducing when they mature, but just like other groupers they can change their sex.

- Adults range from 1 meter up to 2.5 meters

- They can weigh up to 800 lbs. (Koenig, 2012)

What are their abilities and how do they reproduce?


- They can change their sex. For example, a male can become a female and produce eggs.


- The females lay their eggs in columns of water

- The males then come by and fertilize the eggs

- The fusion of gametes produce an embryo that form into a fish (Koenig, 2006)

Predators? Prey?


- When the grouper has not quite matured yet, it can be eaten by barracudas, king mackerels, sharks, moray eels.

- When it reaches maturity, the grouper's only predators are humans and large sharks


- Almost anything

- They eat lobsters, shrimp, crabs, stingrays, and even octopuses and small sea turtles.

- Small to medium size fish

- Like to steal from fishermen

- They use suction to snatch their prey up from a distance

Status? Threats? Conservation?


- The Goliath Grouper is currently critically endangered on the IUCN red list


- They have been overfished to near extinction.

- Their slow growth rate compared to how heavily they were fished at times does not match. Thus causing the population to decrease dramatically


- During the 1980s when the fish was heavily sought after, the spawning of goliath grouper had decreased by up to 80% in almost every spot recorded by biologist.

- This confirmed that legislative action needed to be set in place.

- The government outlawed the fishing of goliath grouper, and since then numbers have started to increase.

- Main population of goliath grouper are in Florida, they are thriving there. (Koenig, 2012)

Works Cited

Epinephelus itajara. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/195409/0

Bacle. (2014, January 1). Goliath Groupers. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2014/07/goliath-grouper/holland-text

Koenig, C. (n.d.). Atlantic goliath grouper photo. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.arkive.org/atlantic-goliath-grouper/epinephelus-itajara/image-G65371.html