South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Grouper, Goliath

Grouper, Goliath

Grouper, Goliath

Epinephelus itajara
Recreational
All areas are closed for recreational fishing.
Commercial
All areas are closed for commercial fishing.

The largest of the groupers, weighing up to 750 pounds. Head and fins covered with small black spots; irregular dark vertical bars present on the sides of body; pectoral and caudal fin rounded; first dorsal fin shorter than and not separated from second dorsal.

Found nearshore around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges; young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars; more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters. Spawns over summer months; lifespan of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish.

Regulations

NC, SC, GA, FL

  • Season is currently closed.
  • Notes: Closed to possession or harvest. Must be released immediately with minimum harm (cutting the line, do NOT remove fish from water).

    A descending device is required on board all vessels fishing for or possessing snapper and grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic. The descending device must be readily available for use and attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line. Get more information at Best Fishing Practices Webpage

    For more information, see: Goliath Grouper Regulations

  • Gear Description: Allowable gear includes vertical hook-and-line, including hand line and bandit gear, and spearfishing gear without rebreathers. When fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species in federal waters of the South Atlantic, the following regulations apply: (1) Use of a dehooking tool is required. (2) The use of non-stainless steel hooks is required when using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. In waters North of 28-degrees N. latitude, the use of non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks is required when fishing for snapper grouper species using hook-and-line gear with natural baits. (3) A descending device is required on board all vessels and must be readily available for use (attached to at least 16 ounces of weight and at least 60 feet of line). See below for more details.

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