The goliath grouper is a saltwater fish that is also known as the “Atlantic goliath grouper” and “itajara”. It is large in its size and belongs to the grouper family. It lives in shallow tropical waters at small depths that range from 16 – 164 feet (5 – 50 meters) among coral and artificial reefs. There are several places in which you can enjoy seeing the Atlantic goliath grouper fish such as the Bahamas, all the Brazilian coast, the Caribbean, the Florida Keys and the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to Congo. Young Atlantic goliath groupers are not like other groupers and they differ in the way that they live since these young Atlantic goliath groupers can be found in canals, brackish estuaries, mangrove swamps and even oyster beds. Living in such places is considered to be completely non-traditional and is not done by other groupers.
♦ What are the characteristics of the Atlantic goliath grouper?
Do you know anything about the characteristics of the Atlantic goliath groupers? The most distinct feature that catches your attention once you see this fish is the size which is extremely large. The Atlantic goliath grouper can grow until it reaches approximately 8.2 ft (2.5 m) long and it weighs about 790 lb (360 kg). The largest and heaviest caught Atlantic goliath grouper is recorded to be 309 kg (681 lb) and it was caught in 1961 in Florida. The mature Atlantic goliath grouper is usually approximately 400 lb (180 kg).
♦ The Atlantic goliath grouper is completely protected from harvest
Although the Atlantic goliath grouper seems to be scary for its large size and even wide mouth, it is not extremely dangerous but it is courageous. Being fearless and delicious at the same time is not good for this fish as these two factors are the main reasons behind making it highly sought after by fishermen and thus harvesting it in large numbers. Treating this fish in such a cruel way was the main reason behind making it endangered and this is why it was necessary to protect it and entirely ban harvesting it.
Protecting the Atlantic goliath grouper started in 1990 in the United States and in 1993 in the Caribbean. Banning harvesting the Atlantic goliath grouper was perfect for protecting it from being extinct as the population of the species has started to increase but the growth rate is very slow and the number of Atlantic goliath grouper is still small.
♦ Is it dangerous & what does it eat?
The Atlantic goliath grouper is fearless which means that it is not scared easily and this is why it attacks different creatures in the sea even divers and the 11 feet lemon sharks. The Atlantic goliath grouper eats most of what it can attack and this includes barracudas, octopi, fish, young sea turtles, crustaceans and even sharks.