Red Grouper


Epinephelus morio

Illustration and Copyright by Diane Rome Peebles
Illustrations are for viewing purposes only.

Description: color brownish red; lining of mouth scarlet-orange; blotches on sides in unorganized pattern; second spine of dorsal fin longer than others; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins; squared off tail; margin of soft dorsal black with white at midfin; black dots around the eyes.

Similar Fish: Nassau grouper, E. striatus.

Where found: bottom dwelling fish associated with hard bottom; juveniles OFFSHORE along with adults greater than 6 years old; fish from 1 to 6 years occupy NEARSHORE reefs.

Possession and Size Limits: 4 per person in aggregate of all groupers, 20” TL. Captain and crew prohibited from retaining bag limits of any grouper while under charter.

Federal Recreational Season: Closed February 1 - March 31 when fishing beyond the 20 fathom break. “The Edges” is closed to all fishing January 1 - April 30.

Size: common to 15 pounds.

Remarks: spawns in April and May; prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F; undergoes sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age; lifespan of at least 25 years; feeds on squid, crustaceans, and fish.

Stock Status: According to a 2009 SEDAR 12 Stock Assessment Update, red grouper are neither overfished, nor experiencing overfishing.  A benchmark assessment of red grouper is scheduled for 2014.