The moment a Goliath grouper eating a shark was captured on camera as shocked fishermen look on.
The Everglades Fishing Company said the grouper was probably about 500 pounds.
“Watch this. You guys are going to freak out,” Jimmy Wheeler of the Everglades Fishing Company warned.
“He just sucked it in,” Michelle Wheeler told Fox News. “I don’t remember ever seeing anything this crazy.”
“That same grouper later swallowed a stingray — or manta ray,” Michelle added. “[Goliath groupers] have become a nuisance, according to a lot of fishermen. They’re eating everything.”
According to the report, groupers have been protected under Florida state law since 1990. They have to be returned to the ocean after being caught.
The fishermen indicated that they were planning to catch and release the Goliath grouper.
“Large goliath groupers should be left in the water during release. The skeletal structure of large goliath groupers cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) stated on its website. “If a large goliath is brought onboard a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested.”
They can get to be 8 feet in length.
“We snorkel and see they’ll just go by a fish and suck it in. They’re huge. They didn’t get that way from not eating,” Michelle told Fox.
In another incident years ago, a grouper was spotted eating a blacktip shark.
The predator was identified as an Atlantic goliath grouper, which can weigh as much as 790 pounds and can grow up to 8.2 feet in length.
The fishermen hooked the shark off the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida, several years ago before the grouper took over.
As Business Insider noted, goliath groupers are known to stalk and ambush divers.
The goliath grouper is the largest of the grouper species in the Atlantic Ocean, and they can weigh up to 800 pounds, according to NOAA’s website. However, there have been reports of much larger groupers.
“They were once so overfished in the southeastern United States, they were considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act,” according to NOAA.
They’re found in shallow tropical waters near coral reefs, and its range extends from the Florida Keys to the Gulf of Mexico. But it’s also found in the Bahamas, the Caribbean Sea, and off Brazil.
But, “On some occasions, goliath grouper have been caught off the coast of New England in Massachusetts and Maine. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, goliath grouper are found off the coast of Africa from the Congo to Senegal,” says NOAA.
“Threats to the species include commercial and recreational fishing, harmful algal blooms (red tide), and habitat loss,” says the NOAA website.
Man Catches Giant Fish
No one would have believed this fisherman’s tale if he hadn’t caught it on video.
An estimated 552-pound goliath grouper was caught off the coast of Florida. Jon Black wrestled the 7-foot fish out of the water while still somehow managing to stay in his kayak.
The fish broke Black’s rod, but it was reported that he was still able to have it measured before releasing it.
Despite this grouper’s massive size, it didn’t break a world record. That record actually belongs to a 680-pounder caught, also in Florida, in 1961.
Black owns Crazy Lure Bait & Tackle Shop in Cape Coral, Florida. His company says that could be the first time a kayaker in Florida has caught a goliath grouper. So Black could still hold the unofficial record for largest grouper caught in a kayak.