Goliath Grouper Spawning Aggregation, September 5, 2010, M/V Castor, 110 feet deep, Boynton Beach, Florida. Approximately 20 Golaith’s were observed ranging in size from 4 to 8 ft. in length.
On September 5, 2010, Reef Rescue divers descended upon the M/V Castor to document a spawning aggregation of Goliath Groupers. Strong currents and low visibility combined to make the dive to the 110 foot deep shipwreck treacherous. Limited visibility prevented seeing the aggregation in its entirety. Divers were able to inspect the cargo holds, wheelhouse and other areas of the wreck to estimate the number of fish present. It is likely there were more that the 20 that were observed.
Over-fishing drastically reduced Goliath Grouper numbers until the State of Florida and the Federal government imposed fishing bans in 1990. Since that time, the year-round resident population of Goliath Groupers on the offshore reef ledges has increased and more recently seasonal aggregation behaviors have begun to occur at nearby artificial reef sites.
Spawning aggregations on Palm Beach County shipwrecks have become an annual August/September occurrence for the last several years as the Goliath’s recover from near extinction.