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Sep 29, 2010 4:15 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Divers swim with goliath, endangered fish

A dozen divers braved rough seas off the coast of Jupiter, Florida Tuesday and suited up for what has become one of the most popular dives in the state.

"About a decade ago they were sparse, you very seldom saw any. In the last several years it's just incredible how the population has come back," says Mike Costanzo.

The goliath grouper has made quite an impression off the coast of Jupiter.

Every year nearly 60 of them congregate between September and October on popular dive sites in 90 feet of water.

"It brings people from all over the world because these goliath grouper are just a very unique species to observe in this environment," says Costanzo.

At 400 pounds with some stretching 6 feet long, it's hard miss them. They're not aggressive and very curious making quite an impact on divers.

"They're just a fantastic animal to see, They're so majestic, they're so docile, they're not afraid with interaction with humans," says Gerry Carroll of Jupiter Dive Center.

For several years this aggregation has taken place.

In fact it's the only known documented spot in the Atlantic where goliath grouper spawning occurs.

Researchers are having a field day scooping up as much as they can learn from the endangered species.

"Scientists are really trying to get a feel for what their diet is, what they're spawning pattern is; there's so much unknown about this animal," says Carroll.

 

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