Goliath Grouper: Epinephelus itajara


  • Head and fins covered with small black spots
  • Irregular dark and vertical bars present on the sides of body
  • Pectoral and caudal fins rounded
  • First dorsal fin shorter than and not separated from second dorsal
  • Adults huge, up to 800 pounds
  • Eyes small


Goliath are found nearshore often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges.  Young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars.  These fish are more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters.


Goliath spawn over summer months and have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years.  They feed on crustaceans and fish.

State Record:

680 lb, caught near Fernandina Beach (1961)

Fishing Tips and Facts:

Goliath grouper, commonly called jewfish, are totally protected from harvest in Florida waters.

Additional Information:

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
Saxitoxin, the compound that produces paralytic shellfish poisoning, was used in suicide pills for U.S. U-2 spy plane pilots in the Cold War in case of crash and potential capture.

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