Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

Disturbing scientific results on the Atlantic Goliath grouper

In Florida, new disturbing results are surfacing after 30 years of forbidden fishing for the Atlantic Goliath grouper.

David Fair and Grady Sullivan with jewfish taken off the Dry Tortugas and Gulf of Mexico catch in 1984. Collection of Don DeMaria.

Florida study

As new proposals to reopen the Atlantic Goliath grouper fishery emerge in Florida, scientists have highlighted the presence of heavy loads of mercury in its muscles and liver at levels known to be toxic to humans and capable of causing irreversible brain damage in young people.

96% of Atlantic Goliath groupers exceed the risk threshold for human consumption, some reaching 25 times the tolerated value.

This information also raises questions for French Guyana regarding the heavy metal contamination of the Atlantic Goliath grouper.

GEPOG will take a close interest in this subject in order to provide as much data as possible during the consultation meetings planned in Life BIODIV’OM.

The Atlantic Goliath grouper

Considered one of the two largest grouper species in the world, the Atlantic Goliath grouper can reach a size of 2.50m and weighs 450kg. It is present in tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, but has almost disappeared in several localities such as along the West African coast and in the Antilles. The species is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

An endangered species

Victim of intensive overfishing in the 1980s, the species is only found in the western part of its range. It is estimated that the loss of their workforce represents 80% of the world population. The species is also suffering the consequences of the degradation and loss of its habitats such as mangroves or coral reefs impacted by threats such as urbanization or global warming.