Weighing as much as 800 pounds and growing up to 8 feet, Goliath Grouper are vulnerable to overfishing. Staggering population declines led to their complete protection from harvest in U.S. waters since 1990. Though they have made a comeback in Florida, conservationists worry their populations haven’t fully recovered.
Weighing as much as 800 pounds and reaching lengths up to 8 feet, Goliath Grouper are vulnerable to overfishing. Huge population declines led to total protection from harvest in U.S. waters beginning in 1990. The species has made a comeback in Florida, with some calling for the permitting of a regulated fishery, though conservationists worry that current populations haven’t fully recovered.
The origin of this taxidermied Goliath Grouper is unknown, but the specimen is something of a Museum mascot.
Many groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites, a fancy way of saying they attain sexual maturity first as females, but switch to the male sex later in life. Goliath Grouper are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, but the most direct evidence, that of individual fish transitioning from female to male, has not been documented. Additionally, the largest size classes of Goliath Groupers include both females and males.
Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Florida Museum of Natural History
Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)
Collection information unknown
- Species profile: Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)