Where Are Groupers Native To?

Groupers are a large family of fishes found in different places on the earth. Groupers are native to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico along the North American coast. They go from Florida and the Bahamas all the way to the coasts of Brazil.

Where Are Groupers Found?

As mentioned above, you can find this fish mainly in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico along the North American coast. They are most commonly found in Florida in the United States but also in the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast. Many different names know it all around the world.

This is because the fish originated from the genus Epinephelus and Mycteroperca, except for some species. Since the groupers usually live in huge oceans, their bodies are adapted to the conditions of this area. This is why most groupers are enormous, like the goliath grouper, which can reach a length of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and weigh about 455 kg (1,000 pounds).

You will find groupers in warmer oceans as they prefer warm water between 70 F and 77 F to live in. You will also find the fish exploring rocky and coral reefs of the tropics and subtropics around the world. Sometimes, the fish is present in shallow water, and sometimes it moves to deeper water, depending on the temperature of the water, the season, and many other factors.

Where in the Ocean Are Groupers Located?

When fishing for groupers, the anglers use a method called trolling to put the bait in the water and move around so that the grouper thinks it’s moving prey and comes out of the hiding places. When this is done, the prey on the hook is usually between 30 feet to 60 feet below the water because this is the range where most groupers are found.

However, in summer, the groupers may come closer to the shallower water when the water temperature is appropriate, but if it gets too hot, the fish goes back to the deeper ocean. Similarly, winter it’s usually the spawning season, so the grouper is more active and might venture to the top.

The point is that the place of the ocean where the grouper is found depends on many factors, so there is no way to find the exact location. They seem to occupy all three ocean layers because there are so many different species of grouper fish. The fish deeper into the ocean will be much redder in color, while the fish found in shallow water is more brownish and gray in color.

Where Are Giant Groupers Found?

The giant groupers like the goliath grouper are found in shallow and tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs. The goliath grouper is of two types, the Atlantic Ocean goliath and the Pacific Ocean goliath, so they are found in many areas of the world. More commonly, you can find them in the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida Keys in the United States, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast. The fish has historically been found on both coasts of Florida and from the Gulf of Mexico down to the coasts of Brazil and the Caribbean. Therefore, finding huge groupers in these places will yield a positive experience, and you can have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

History of Groupers

It is said that groupers originated in what is now the East Atlantic during the mid-Eocene, so they have been around for a very long time on this planet. Afterward, the fish diverged successively to form six strongly supported main clades that differed in age and geographical origins.

There is not much other information about the origin of this fish. Even in the wild, some large groupers can have a lifespan of 100 years, so they are ancient. The six main clads of the grouper were then divided into many different species, which is why we now have so many different types of groupers worldwide. Some of the groupers, like the Hawaii groupers, are also endemic to the area, so they are not found anywhere else.

Can You Fish Groupers?

Yes, you can fish for groupers as there are many species of the fish, and as a whole, they are not endangered. Of course, some fishes cannot be fished. Usually, groupers are fished until January 1st, as in the winter months, they reproduce, which is essential to keep their numbers from dwindling.

When fishing for groupers, avoid the following groupers as they are endangered. Fishes out of this list are allowed to be caught in most places.

  • Speckled Hind
  • Atlantic goliath grouper
  • Dusky grouper
  • Hong Kong grouper
  • Warsaw grouper
  • Nassau grouper
  • Gulf grouper
  • Island grouper

More groupers are vulnerable to becoming endangered, which is why fishing for groupers is a highly monitored activity. However, you can also catch and release groupers sometimes, which means you can’t keep the fish, but it is a fun activity.


Now you know that the grouper fish is found mainly in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico along the North American coast. The fish also originated from this area during the mid-Eocene era, so the fish has been around for a long time.

If you want to fish for the fish, you can, but there are some endangered grouper species, like the infamous goliath grouper, which is illegal to fish. Where in the ocean the fish is found mainly depends on the temperature of the water, season, and other factors.


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