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Big old fish: FWC studying valuable 350-pound grouper

Fish estimated to be 50 years old

Fisherman catches 350-pound Warsaw grouper.
Fisherman catches 350-pound Warsaw grouper. ((FWC))

Florida Fish and Wildlife are studying a big old fish caught off the coast of southwest Florida.

The agency says the 350-pound Warsaw grouper was caught by hook-and-line on December 29, 2019. Biologists from FWRI’s age and growth lab said the grouper is the oldest sample collected for the aging program.

The FWC said getting the otolith from the fish was extremely valuable as coming across such large and older fish is rare.

Juvenile Warsaw groupers are occasionally seen around jetties and shallow-water reefs in the northern Gulf.

The FWC does not encourage fishermen to target the grouper since the status of its population is unknown.