Under Northern Territory Regulation 9 of the Fisheries Act, no species of the genus Epinephelus above the size of 120 cm may be taken (H. Larson, pers. comm., cited in Pogonoski et al. 2002).
Protected Species in NSW Waters (since 1977).
Protected Species in WA waters.
No ASFB Listing (Pogonoski et al. 2002).
Protected species in Queensland waters (since 2003) (Queensland Fisheries Service 2003).
Protection in India There is a total ban on the capture and sale of E. lanceolatus in the Union Territory of Andaman Islands, India, where E. lanceolatus is relatively abundant. The local fisheries department has issued notices and the field staff monitor the capture and sale of it. Shipment or marketing of this species is not permitted. However, there is accidental capture of this species along with other groupers, although it cannot be marketed openly. In mainland India, this species is included in the banned list of species for fishing. But, except in Laccadive Islands and in the Gulf of Mannar, the species is not common (Dr. C.M. James pers. comm.).
Common in shallow waters and has been caught at depths of 100 m. Also found in caves in coral reefs or wrecks; adults and juveniles are also found in estuaries. Individuals more than a meter long have been caught from shore and in harbours. Feeds on spiny lobsters, fishes, including small sharks and batoids, and juvenile sea turtles and crustaceans. In South African eatuaries, the main prey item is the mud crab, @Scylla serrata@.
Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2014). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.
Dorsal fin spines of large individuals increase in size from front to back. It is the largest of all coral reef dwelling bony fishes (Ref. 37816); overall dark grey color with variable amount of pale spots/blotches; cycloid scales on body; body with auxiliary scales; greatest depth of body 2.3-3.4 in SL; short pelvic fins, 23.0-2.7 in head length (Ref 90102); further characterized by having head length 2.2-2.7 times in SL; interorbital width 3.3-6.2 times in HL; flat to slightly convex interorbital area, convex dorsal head profile; subangular preopercle, finely serrate, the angle rounded; convex upper edge of operculum; eye diameter 5.8-14 in head length; subequal anterior and posterior nostrils; maxilla reaching past vertical at rear edge of eye; 2-3 rows of teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw increasing to 15-16 rows in fish of 177 cm SL; small or absent canine teeth at front of jaws (Ref. 89707).
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. (Ref. 5222)
E. lanceolatus is the largest of all coral reef dwelling bony fishes. It tends to be solitary and inhabits lagoon and seaward reefs at a depth of a few to at least 50m. Large individuals often have a "home" cave or wreck in which they frequently stay (Myers 1991). It is somewhat unusual for a large species in that large individuals can be found in shallow inshore waters, including rocky areas, caves and wrecks, habours and estuaries, (Lau and Li 2000, Sadovy and Cornish 2000) and down to 100 m; overall it is more often found in shallow water (Heemstra and Randall 1993). It even swims into brackish areas (Delbelius 1993). Specimens more than a meter long have been caught from close to shore and in harbours (Heemstra and Randall 1993).
Its favourite food on coral reefs and in rocky areas is spiny lobsters. It is also known to eat a variety of fishes, including small sharks and batoids, and juvenile sea turtles; in South African estuaries, the main prey item is the mud crab (Heemstra and Randall 1993). All food is swallowed whole (Myers 1991).
Maturity size is thought to be approximately 129 cm and max size is 270 cm (Lau and Li 2000). It rarely reaches its final weight of about 400 kg. The larger it grows, the shyer it becomes according to underwater observations (Delbelius 1993).
There are no reported direct observations of spawning aggregations (as is found in many other grouper species) for E. lanceolatus, although these have been reported anecdotally (Domeier et al. 2002). Interviews with fishermen provide indirect evidence of spawning aggregations in eastern Indonesia where seasonally, catches increase from an average 1 fish/week/boat to 5–6 fish/week/boat during the possible aggregation season; the spawning period was suggested to be December to February based on these interview data (Sadovy and Liu 2004).
Rarely is the species seen underwater anywhere, but there are reports of individuals caught in Hong Kong, by hook or spear, in deeper water and outer islands such as Waglan Island dating back at least 30 years (Sadovy and Cornish 2000). The Giant Grouper is nowadays often brought into Hong Kong from elsewhere in the South China Sea and beyond, for consumption, and periodically escapes from mariculture facilities, so the source of Giant Grouper seen in Hong Kong waters to day is uncertain. From older reports, however, small numbers of this species did once occur naturally in local waters but this location is edge of range (Sadovy and Cornish 2000).
It is not common enough to be of much commercial importance, but it is often the target of spearfishermen because of its size. Caught with hook and line and spear (Heemstra and Randall 1993).
Data are needed on age, growth, reproduction, landings and trade (other than Hong Kong imports).
The giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), also known as the brindlebass, brown spotted cod, or bumblebee grouper, and as the Queensland grouper in Australia, is the largest bony fish found in coral reefs, and the aquatic emblem of Queensland, Australia. It is found from near the surface to depths of 100 m (330 ft) at reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region, with the exception of the Persian Gulf. It also enters estuaries. It reaches up to 3.65 m (12.0 ft) in length and 400 kg (880 lb) in weight; there are unconfirmed reports of it growing much bigger, up to 4.26 m (14.0 ft) and 598 kg (1,318 lb). Giant groupers feed on a variety of marine life, including large sharks and juvenile sea turtles. Due to overfishing, this species has declined drastically in many regions, and as of the mid 1990s, it is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN.
The Queensland grouper has also been found to inhabit the fresh-water of the Brisbane River of Queensland, Australia.
This giant fish is similar to the Malabar grouper, and its colour changes with age. The giant grouper has a large mouth and a rounded tail. Juveniles have irregular black and yellow markings, while adults are green-grey to grey-brown with faint mottling, with numerous small black spots on the fins.