Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

The Atlantic Goliath Grouper: results since 2007

Since 2007 the Ile du Grand-Connétable nature reserve has worked to increase knowledge of the Goliath Grouper, an endangered species that still occurs in French Guiana. Time to see what’s happened!

Atlantic Goliath grouper captured in a scientific mission © GEPOG

The Atlantic Goliath Grouper

Considered to be one of the two biggest groupers in the world, the Atlantic Goliath Grouper can reach a length of 2.5 metres and a maximum weight of 450 kg. It occurs in tropical waters of the Atlantic ocean but has all but disappeared from several areas including the West African coast and the West Indies. The species is presently classed as being “Vulnerable” in the IUCN red list.

A threatened species

A victim of over-fishing during the 1980s the species is now only found in the west of its former range. It is estimated that 80% of the world population has been lost.

Results since 2007

Thanks to collaboration between the reserve, Florida state university and the ONCFS (national hunting and wildlife authority) a study using marking techniques and a thesis were undertaken between 2010 and 2014 (Artero, 2014). Presently, about 1000 individual fish have been marked, measured and some weighed. Also certain biological samples were taken, stomach contents and reproductive state recorded.

The assembled data has allowed, among other things, for a better understanding of the grouper’s distribution in Guiana, estimation of the fishes’ ages and identify preferred prey. Genetic studies have shown there to be exchange between Brazilian and Guiana populations and their inter-dependency which pleads for an international policy for the species’ conservation.

To find out more of the study results: