Speckled Hind

Speckled Hind

Scientific Name

Epinephelus drummondhayi

Common Names

Strawberry grouper

Kitty Mitchell

Stock Status

Overfishing – No

Overfished – Unknown

Stock Assessment

SEDAR 49

Regulations

Recreational Commercial
Season Open year-round. Season Speckled hind is managed under an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program. Anyone commercially fishing for speckled hind must possess allocation and follow established protocols.
Minimum Size Limit none Minimum Size Limit none
Bag Limit 1 per vessel within the 4-grouper aggregate bag limit which includes gag, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, yellowedge grouper, snowy grouper, speckled hind, and warsaw. No grouper may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. Trip Limit none
Permit State issued recreational license/angler registry, federal angler registry or Federal charter/headboat permit for reef fish Permit Commercial vessel permit for reef fish is required. Additionally, an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement required to use bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the federal waters east of 85°30′ longitude.
Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks. Gear Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks.

Harvest Limits

 Combined stock ACL for yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, and speckled hind – 1,070,000 pounds gutted weight
 Combined stock ACT for yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, and speckled hind – 1,024,000 pounds

Description

Speckled hind, also known as calico grouper, strawberry grouper and kitty mitchell, is found in the western Atlantic from North Carolina to the Florida Keys, including the Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda.  Its body is varying shades of dark to reddish brown with a dense covering of small white specks; these specks also cover the fins.  The juvenile’s body is yellow with white spots on the body and fins.

 

Maximum observed age:  45 years1, 2

Age at maturity:  ~ 6 to 7 years3

Maximum weight:  66.14 pounds (30 kilograms)4

Maximum length:  43.31 inches (110 centimeters)4

Life History and Distribution

Within its range, speckled hind is found offshore over rocky bottoms typically from 197 to 394 feet (60 – 120 meters).4   Not much is known about this species’ reproductive behavior or spawning patterns, although courtship behavior has been observed on Oculina reefs where scamp and gag are known to aggregate for spawning.  In the Gulf of Mexico, the spawning season is estimated to occur from April through September.3

References

  1. SEDAR 49. 2016. Gulf of Mexico Data-limited Species: Red Drum, Lane Snapper, Wenchman, Yellowmouth Grouper, Speckled Hind, Snowy Grouper, Almaco Jack, Lesser Amberjack. Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review.  North Charleston, South Carolina.
  2. Andrews, A.H., B.K. Barnett, R.J. Allman, R.P. Moyer and H.D. Trowbridge, 2013. Great longevity of speckled hind (Epinephelus drummondhayi), a deep-water grouper, with novel use of postbomb radiocarbon dating in the Gulf of Mexico. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 70: 1131-1140.
  3. Kobara, S., B. Erisman, W. Heyman, C. Biggs, N. Farmer, S. Lowerre-Barbieri, M. Karnauskas, and J. Brenner. 2017. Cooperative monitoring program for spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Mexico: data portal. Version 1.0 GCOOS, USA.
  4. Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p.