Other Names: Black Grouper, Rockfish, Marbled Rockfish, Runner, Springer, Mycteroperca bonaci; gag are often mistaken for black grouper
Identification & Biology: The black grouper can grow up to 4 feet in length, weight is common to 40 pounds, may attain weights exceeding 100 pounds. Typically has olive or gray body coloration with black blotches and brassy spots; gently rounded preopercle. It is usually solitary and skittish until spawning time, when it gathers en masse. It is found in tropical or subtropical waters of the central western Atlantic.
Spawns between May and August; protogynous hermaphrodites, young predominantly female, transforming into males as they grow larger; larger individuals generally in greater depths; feeds on fish and squid.
Range & Habitat: Black grouper are found in the western Atlantic, from Massachusetts and Bermuda to Brazil, including the southern Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Black grouper come from marine fisheries, not fish farms. They are primarily caught with hooks-and-lines. Additional types of fishing gear include spears, pots and traps. Offshore species; adults associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep; young may occur inshore in shallow water.
Market Description: Grouper is a lean fish with a firm, mildly flavored flesh. The black grouper is quite tasty and an important food fish, is fished for sale but also for sea-angling. While not currently considered endangered, it is vulnerable to increases in exploitation because it is a relatively slow breeder.
Habitat: Mid Atlantic US/gulf/coastal South America Flavor Profile: firm texture, large flake, distinct mild flavor
Fishing technique: hook & line, long line
Special note: Considered a shallow water grouper
Suitable sub: Gag Grouper
Buying Tips: Black grouper is sold whole, in fillets and steaks. Buy fresh for best flavor.
Recommended Preparation: Remove skin before cooking to avoid strong flavor. Can be grilled, sautéed, baked, fried