Atlantic Goliath Grouper by Brett Seymour

Atlantic Goliath Grouper, by Brett Seymour via National Park Service

SPECIES–  Atlantic Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)

CURRENT RANGE–  From North Carolina to Brazil; Congo to Senegal

CURRENT THREAT–  Overfishing; Slow Reproduction

CURRENT STATUS–  Critically Endangered

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM–  Florida Keys, the Caribbean



When you think of the largest fish in the ocean, images of sharks, marlins and even tuna probably come to mind first. Another one you’d be wise to start considering is the Atlantic goliath grouper, a huge saltwater fish that leisurely swims in reefs and mangroves between North Carolina and Brazil, and also those along the West African coast. The average adult stretches 43-53 inches, but some have been measured at double theatlength. Goliath groupers, which mostly feed on crustaceans and smaller fish, have been known to weigh in at over 700 pounds.


Atlantic Goliath Grouper, by Albert Kok via Creative Commons



During a recent visit to the Georgia Aquarium, a guide was sharing interesting facts about the “Tropical Diver” exhibit. When a visitor asked about one particularly inactive fish, the guide said, “Oh, that’s the goliath grouper.” The visitor went on to say how much he enjoyed eating grouper, to which the guide responded, “Don’t eat this one. They don’t grow fast enough.” And he’s right. This species is deemed critically endangered by the IUCN because of its reproductive issues (slow growth, late sexual maturity) and overfishing.



Because of excessive fishing, the goliath grouper was considered commercially extinct in the US in the 1980s. The outlook was equally deplorable down in the Caribbean. In America, however, a fishing ban was placed on the species in 1990. Thankfully, the population has slowly rebounded over the past 20+ years in Florida. But across the rest of the Atlantic, numbers are down some 80%. Groups like Florida State University’s Coleman & Koening Laboratory are promoting mangrove protection and trying to shift the public’s perception of the goliath grouper as being nothing more than a big, lazy nuisance. And, of course, dinner…   –DeMarco Williams



10 Responses to ENDANGERED SPECIES SPOTLIGHT: Atlantic Goliath Grouper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

Help Support Green Global Travel!

Each time you make a purchase on using the link below, we'll earn a small percentage, at no extra cost to you.


Follow Us

As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar- Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
FL- Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba