10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Global abundance is assumed to be well over 10,000 individuals based upon the occurrence of at least 28 extant spawning aggregations in the western Atlantic, most of which are assumed to each represent hundreds to thousands of individuals (Smith 1972, Aguilar-Perera 1990). Absent, disappearing, or becoming increasingly rare throughout range; several spawning aggregations have vanished (Sobel 1996). Other comments on abundance relate to qualitative or quantitative descriptions in particular habitats or locations. Historically common in Bermuda, Florida Keys, and West Indies, and a common food fish (Henshall 1891, Randall 1965, Starck 1968, Bohnsack 1990), but presently rare in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Bermuda (Beebe and Tee-van 1933, Olsen and LaPlace 1978, Thompson and Munro 1983, Bortone et al. 1986, Beets and Friedlander 1992). Presently represents only 2 percent of fishery catch in Puerto Rico (FAO 1993). Considered commercially extinct in Bermuda (Luckhurst 1996), Puerto Rico (FAO 1993), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Beets and Friedlander 1992); also very rare in Martinique, possibly due to intense fishing (Gobert 1990). Found, but not common in the Netherlands Antilles (Nagelkerken 1981a,b). Historically one of the most common groupers east of the Gulf Stream (Smith 1971). In Bermuda, historically exceeded in abundance only by red hind (Epinephelus guttatus) and possibly coney (Epinephelus fulvus). Presently only observed in no-fishing zones in Saba (Polunin and Roberts 1993). Less abundant in the Florida Keys than the central Bahamas, potentially indicative of greater fishing pressure (Sluka et al. 1994). Generally uncommon in transect surveys in shallow-water reef environments in the upper Florida Keys; more abundant in reefs protected from spearfishing (Sluka and Sullivan 1996b, 1998). Moderately common in shallow-water coral reef environments in the Turks and Caicos Islands (Spotte et al. 1992). Historically abundant in shallow reef environments off Grand Bahama Island (Alevizon et al. 1985). Historically occasional in angler catches from the Shark River and deep-water environments off Cape Sable, Florida (Tabb and Manning 1961). Incidentally caught in commercial landings in Monroe County, Florida, since 1986 (Bohnsack et al. 1994). Moderately common in the Florida Keys during the late 1970s and early 1980s (Jones and Thompson 1978, Stone et al. 1979, Taylor and McMichael 1983). Rare in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Hoese and Moore 1998).