Warsaw Grouper

Warsaw Grouper

Scientific Name

Epinephelus nigritus

Stock Status

Overfishing – No

Overfished – Unknown

Regulations

Recreational Commercial
Season Open year-round. Season Warsaw grouper is managed under an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program. Anyone commercially fishing for warsaw grouper 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

Warsaw grouper is found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Florida, within the Gulf of Mexico, and south to Venezuela and Sao Paulo, Brazil.  Although it has been reported in the West Indies, it appears to be rare there.  This species of grouper is a uniform dark reddish-brown color to black on its back and sides.  This coloring fades to a dull red, grayish color below.  Warsaw grouper can look very similar to goliath grouper; however, the second spine on the dorsal fin of warsaw grouper is much taller than the other spines.  The warsaw grouper has a squared-off tail fin.  Juveniles have a yellowish tail fin and scattered pale spots on the body.

 

Maximum observed age:  41 years1, 2

Age at maturity:  ~ 4 years1, 2

Maximum weight:  436.75 pounds (198.11 kilograms)1, 3

Maximum length:  92.52 inches (235 centimeters)1

Life History and Distribution

Warsaw grouper is a solitary species, preferring to be over rough rocky bottoms, typically at depths greater than 200 feet (> 60 meters).  Juveniles are found inshore around reefs and jetties.  There is little known about the reproductive behavior or spawning patterns of warsaw grouper.  Based on collected specimens, the estimated spawning season in the Gulf of Mexico is April to November.1   Based on current research, this grouper is likely a protogynous hermaphrodite, transitioning from female to male at some point in its adult life.

References

  1. 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.
  2. Farmer, N.A., Malinowski, R.P., McGovern, M.F. and Rubec, P.J. (2016), Stock Complexes for Fisheries Management in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, 8: 177-201. doi:1080/19425120.2015.1024359
  3. IGFA All Tackle Record, Florida