A Goliath Grouper Was Just Caught on Sanibel Island, Florida…from the Beach

by Owen James Burke

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A rare sight: An Atlantic Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara), on a beach. Screenshot from WFMyNews2’s video

Search “goliath grouper” or their slightly outdated, racier name “jewfish” on Youtube and you’ll come across hundreds of videos of fishermen pulling these 3- 4- 500-pound behemoths in beside a bridge piling, dock or some other large underwater structure. What you won’t find (at least, what I can’t find) is someone hauling a goliath grouper in from the surf. What this particular fish was doing anywhere near the beach, unless there’s a wreck or flourishing reef within a hundred yards of that sandy shoreline, is a complete mystery.

This couple is sure to come under attack from an environmentalist or two somewhere as goliath groupers are currently on the critically endangered species list (where they have been since 1990 in the US), but it’s important to point out that not even an expert fisherman could have anticipated a goliath grouper to take–let alone see–a line in the surf. And, despite the expressed interests of others on the beach who looked at the fish and saw dinner, the couple knew better and respected both the fish and the law. They had their photo taken and released it immediately afterward with reasonable care.

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Although the couple could have left this grouper a bit more in the water for their photo op, these brutes can take a beating, and don’t grow up to prey on barracudas, octopi and sharks by being weaklings. Screenshot from WFMyNews2’s video

Watch the video below. When you see a fish kick that hard upon release, you’re money should be on the thing’s survival. Fish that die after being caught are often half-dead before being released.

Read more at WFMyNews2. –OJB

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