350-pound grouper caught off the coast of Florida is said to be 50 years old – KIRO 7 news Seattle

A 350-pound Warsaw grouper caught off the coast of Florida is said to be 50 years old, making it the oldest fish documented in a Florida wildlife research program.

Jason Boyll caught the grouper on December 29, 2019 in about 600 feet of water with a hook and line in southwest Florida, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Research Institute.

“Acquiring the otolith from this fish has been extremely valuable, as samples from larger and older fish are scarce,” wildlife officials said on social media.

Otoliths, or ear stones, are used to help researchers determine the age of a fish.

Warsaw groupers can reach 90 inches long and 580 pounds and typically live in water depths of at least 200 feet. Juveniles can be seen near shore around jetties and shallow water reefs.

“(The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) does not encourage targeting of the Warsaw grouper because the population status in the Gulf is unknown”, wildlife officials said.

The largest Warsaw grouper caught in Florida weighed 436 pounds, according to wildlife officials.

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