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Habitat and Distribution
This species occurs in the western and eastern Atlantic. In the western Atlantic, it occurs from Georgia to Brazil, including the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Adults are found on reefs and in bays, whereas juveniles are found in mangroves and estuaries.
Spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico
The spawning season for this species varies among regions. In the eastern GOM, it spawns from June through October with a peak in July to September. In south Florida, the species spawns from August through October. In the Caribbean, spawning occurs from June through December with a peak from June through September.
Goliath Grouper form many, small transient spawning aggregations of ten to less than 100 fish that are highly predictable in time and space and are comprised of individuals that migrate hundreds of kilometers away. Spawning occurs at night during the new moon at high-relief rocky reefs and artificial reefs (including shipwrecks and towers) in water depths of 15-50 m. Goliath Grouper are broadcast spawners with external fertilization.
Fishing Patterns in Relation to Spawning
Fishery is closed and the species is protected.
Management of Spawning Aggregations
The commercial and recreational fisheries are completely closed.