Illustration of Grouper

Grouper

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Seafood Variety

Harvest Method

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Black grouper

Mycteroperca bonaci

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

3.1 - 3.3 / 5

Summary

The black grouper is part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools. Black groupers have a long life span of about 30 years. According to the latest stock assessment performed in 2010, black groupers are not overfished in either the Gulf of Mexico or the South Atlantic, nor are they experiencing overfishing.

The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species of concern which are accidentally caught include the red porgy, snowy grouper, blacknose shark, and loggerhead turtle. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Hawaiian grouper

Epinephelus quernus

Method

Wild

Handline

Location

Hawaii

Overall Rating

2.9 / 5

Summary

The Hawaiian Deep 7 complex is comprised of 7 bottomfish species: 6 snappers and 1 grouper. Catches peaked in the 1980’s at 439,000lbs but since 2000, have averaged only 234,000lbs/year. The pink snapper, ruby snapper, and red snapper make up the majority of the landings. Most of the species are consumed domestically within Hawaii. Additional snapper are imported from Indo-Pacific islands to meet Hawaiian demand.

The deep 7 are managed as one unit. The group is considered to be at healthy abundances and not overfished. However information on how commercial and recreational fishing impacts individual species is lacking. The Hawaiian grouper is near-threatened and vulnerable to fishing pressure. Regulations exist that control size limits, gear limits, quotas, and catch reporting. The fishery is closed if the catch limit is reached, and if it is exceeded, the quota for the next year is reduced. Population assessments are conducted every 2-3 years, although the deep 7 are studied as a group, and not separately.

Although the Hawaiian Deep 7 are caught by handline, which is a selective way of fishing and allows for any bycatch to be released, the greater amberjack and gray snapper which are species of moderate concern, are sometimes caught. The handlines each have 6-8 circle hooks, and do not come into contact with the seafloor. The Hawaiian snapper which is targeted, as well as gray snapper which is caught as bycatch, are both species of exceptional importance. This means that their role in the ecosystem is disproportionately large compared to their biomass. Due to the importance of these two species, ecosystem-based management measures have been implemented such as the fishing ban in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

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Variety

Black grouper

Mycteroperca bonaci

Method

Wild

Bottom longline

Location

Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

2.6 / 5

Summary

According to the last stock assessment performed in 2010, black groupers are not overfished in either the Gulf of Mexico or the South Atlantic, nor are they experiencing overfishing. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

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Variety

Gag grouper

Mycteroperca microlepis

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

2.1 - 2.4 / 5

Summary

The gag, red, snowy, yellowedge and Warsaw groupers are part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. The majority caught is red grouper with 2727 metric tons landed in 2012.

Groupers have life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), several of these groupers are vulnerable, near-threatened, or in the case of the Warsaw grouper, critically endangered. Some of the species are overfished and/or experiencing overfishing. Of exception is the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico whose population has rebuilt.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools.

While handlines are usually a selective fishing gear, bottom longlines have the potentially to cause bycatch. The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species caught include sharks, tilefish, greater amberjack, as well as endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

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Variety

Red grouper

Epinephelus morio

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

2.3 - 2.6 / 5

Summary

The gag, red, snowy, yellowedge and Warsaw groupers are part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. The majority caught is red grouper with 2727 metric tons landed in 2012.

Groupers have life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), several of these groupers are vulnerable, near-threatened, or in the case of the Warsaw grouper, critically endangered. Some of the species are overfished and/or experiencing overfishing. Of exception is the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico whose population has rebuilt.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools.

While handlines are usually a selective fishing gear, bottom longlines have the potentially to cause bycatch. The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species caught include sharks, tilefish, greater amberjack, as well as endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

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Variety

Yellowedge grouper

Epinephelus flavolimbatus

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

1.9 - 2.1 / 5

Summary

The gag, red, snowy, yellowedge and Warsaw groupers are part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. The majority caught is red grouper with 2727 metric tons landed in 2012.

Groupers have life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), several of these groupers are vulnerable, near-threatened, or in the case of the Warsaw grouper, critically endangered. Some of the species are overfished and/or experiencing overfishing. Of exception is the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico whose population has rebuilt.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools.

While handlines are usually a selective fishing gear, bottom longlines have the potentially to cause bycatch. The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species caught include sharks, tilefish, greater amberjack, as well as endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Black grouper

Mycteroperca bonaci

Method

Wild

Bottom longline

Location

Mexico

Overall Rating

1.4 / 5

Summary

The Mexican bottom longline fishery targets black and red grouper off the Campeche Bank in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a small scale fishery that mostly supplies the local market. Red and Black grouper are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and recent assessments indicate that the stock is overfished. There are also challenges due to the multi-species nature of the fishery, meaning that species of concern such as mutton snapper, warsaw grouper, and sea turtles are captured. Although a new management plan was introduced for this fishery in 2014, most of the regulations have yet to be implemented.

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Variety

Snowy grouper

Epinephelus niveatus

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

1.9 - 2.2 / 5

Summary

The gag, red, snowy, yellowedge and Warsaw groupers are part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. The majority caught is red grouper with 2727 metric tons landed in 2012.

Groupers have life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), several of these groupers are vulnerable, near-threatened, or in the case of the Warsaw grouper, critically endangered. Some of the species are overfished and/or experiencing overfishing. Of exception is the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico whose population has rebuilt.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools.

While handlines are usually a selective fishing gear, bottom longlines have the potentially to cause bycatch. The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species caught include sharks, tilefish, greater amberjack, as well as endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Warsaw grouper

Epinephelus nigritus

Method

Wild

Bottom longline, Handline

Location

S. Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico

Overall Rating

1.8 - 2.2 / 5

Summary

The gag, red, snowy, yellowedge and Warsaw groupers are part of the reef fish fishery in the US Gulf of Mexico and the snapper-grouper fishery in the US South Atlantic. 92% of the groupers caught in the US were from the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. The majority caught is red grouper with 2727 metric tons landed in 2012.

Groupers have life history characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), several of these groupers are vulnerable, near-threatened, or in the case of the Warsaw grouper, critically endangered. Some of the species are overfished and/or experiencing overfishing. Of exception is the red grouper in the Gulf of Mexico whose population has rebuilt.

Grouper are strictly managed, especially in the Gulf of Mexico where observer programs exist, unlike in the South Atlantic. Management regulations are in place to mitigate bycatch mortality. These include the use of circle hooks, dehooking devices and venting tools.

While handlines are usually a selective fishing gear, bottom longlines have the potentially to cause bycatch. The grouper fishery causes the bycatch of undersized groupers and snappers, accidental catches during closed seasons, and accidental catches exceeding given quotas. Some species caught include sharks, tilefish, greater amberjack, as well as endangered loggerhead sea turtles. Handlines cause minimal ecosystem impacts, as they do not make contact with the ocean floor. Bottom longlines may make occasional contact. Ecosystem impacts are mitigated by the use of several restricted fishing areas.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Red grouper

Ephinephelus morio

Method

Wild

Bottom longline

Location

Mexico

Overall Rating

1.2 / 5

Summary

The Mexican bottom longline fishery targets black and red grouper off the Campeche Bank in the Gulf of Mexico. It is a small scale fishery that mostly supplies the local market. Red and Black grouper are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and recent assessments indicate that the stock is overfished. There are also challenges due to the multi-species nature of the fishery, meaning that species of concern such as mutton snapper, warsaw grouper, and sea turtles are captured. Although a new management plan was introduced for this fishery in 2014, most of the regulations have yet to be implemented.

Learn more about harvest methods