Giant Queensland groper (or grouper), also known as the giant groper or Queensland groper, is one of the largest reef-dwelling fish in the world. They have a wide distribution throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific. In Australia they occur along all tropical and warm temperate coasts but are rarely found in cooler waters to the south.
Giant Queensland gropers are listed as protected fish in NSW under the Fisheries Management Act 1994. Heavy penalties apply for taking or possessing them.
Giant Queensland gropers are one of the largest of all bony fishes, reaching lengths of up to 3 m and weighing about 600 kg. Juveniles have a large blotched and banded pattern, but as adults become mottled and spotted to evenly dark grey or brownish. The mottled colouration blends with the surroundings, providing good camouflage for ambush hunting. They have a rounded tail. Adult giant Queensland gropers’ stocky shape and brown colouration give them a nearly potato-like profile as they rest motionless on the bottom or hover in mid-water, using only tiny fin movements to maintain their position.
Taking or possessing giant Queensland groper (or any other species of protected fish) is an offence and heavy penalties apply. For corporations, these penalties can include fines of up to $55 000 while individuals can face fines of up to $11 000 and up to 3 months in prison.
Heemstra PC & Randall JE 1993, ‘FAO species catalogue Volume 16 Groupers of the world (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephelinae)’, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, 382 pp.
Kuiter RH 1993, Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia, Crawford House, Bathurst, NSW, Australia, 437 pp.
Lau PPF & Li LWH 2000, Identification guide to fishes in the live seafood trade of the Asia– Pacific region, WWF Hong Kong and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, Hong Kong, 137 pp.
For more information on general fishing regulations check with your local fisheries office or visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries
To contact your local NSW DPI Fisheries Office visit https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/contact-a-dpi-fisheries-officer or phone 1300 550 474.