Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER Epinephelus itajara
Other common name: Spotted jewfish.
Description: head and fins covered with small black spots; irregular dark and vertical bars present on the sides of body; pectoral and caudal fins rounded; first dorsal fin shorter than and not separated from second dorsal; adults huge, up to 800 pounds; eyes small, largest of the groupers.
Similar Fish: other grouper.
Where found: NEARSHORE often around docks, in deep holes, and on ledges; young often occur in estuaries, especially around oyster bars; more abundant in southern Florida than in northern waters.
Remarks: spawns over summer months; life-span of 30 to 50 years; feeds on crustaceans and fish. NOTE: jewfish are totally protected from harvest in Florida waters.
Distribution: West Atlantic, tropical and subtropical coastal waters, ranging Florida, West Indies, South America, Indo-Pacific.
IGFA All tackle: 680 lb., Fernandina Beach, Florida.
General: The common name "jewfish" is a name loosely applied to several unrelated fish with worldwide distribution. A powerful bottom-dwelling fighter and an excellent food fish.