This 350 pound Warsaw grouper was caught with a hook and line off the coast of southwest Florida a couple weeks back. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the fish was caught in about 600 feet of water. From CNN:
"Biologists from (the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute) Age & Growth Lab estimated the age of this fish at 50 years old, making this the oldest sample collected for our ageing program," the FWC said. "Acquiring the otolith from this fish was extremely valuable as samples from larger and older fish are rare."
Otoliths are the hard structures located behind the brain of bony fishes, according to the FWC. They help fish hear, maintain balance and orient themselves. Scientists use the growth structure of otoliths to estimate a fish's age.
Warsaw groupers can grow to a length of 7.5 feet and weight of 580 pounds. The record for the largest one caught in Florida is nearly 440 pounds...
The FWC said it "does not encourage the targeting of Warsaw grouper," as the species' population in the Gulf of Mexico isn't known.
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