Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Catch of the Day- Juvenile Goliath Grouper!

Today I had the privilege of teaching sixty-two fifth graders from Boca Raton about our local coastal marine life. After a morning of seine netting at Tigertail Beach I helped teach an oyster exploration lab. My colleague and I had the students examine several oyster clumps and identify the different types of species they found in and around the oysters. My highlight of the day came when gathering up the oysters in preparation of the lab. Among the oysters I found a juvenile goliath grouper! It was the smallest one I've ever seen. It is amazing to think these fish can get over 500 pounds! Goliath grouper spend the first several years (to be more specific, approximately five years) of their lives in our mangrove-lined estuaries where they feed and seek refuge among the root systems of red mangroves. The oysters I collected were no more than three or four feet from mangroves along Henderson Creek. Once they get about three feet in length they move offshore where many anglers encounter them while fishing on natural and artificial reefs.

To learn more about goliath grouper visit:
Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/GoliathGrouper/GoliathGrouper.html
Florida State University, Coleman and Koenig Laboratory

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