Western Blue Groper
Scientific Name: Achoerodus gouldii
Description: The Western Blue Groper is a large slow growing fish that is member of the wrasse family and starts life as a greenish juvenile before maturing into a female at around 15 years, and if still surviving, become males at around 30 years old!
Blue Groper can grow to over 1m in length but were significantly overfished in the past, partly because of their inquisitive behavior and size, making them easy target for speargun fishing.
This species is beloved by divers and snorkelers and was well known across South and Western Australia but only officially recognized in Victoria in 2011 after initially being observed by volunteers in the Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, undertaking the ‘Great Victorian Fish Count’.
This helped lead Museum Victoria to formally identify the Western Blue Groper using local underwater photographer Mary Malloy’s outstanding image showing the scale arrangement and lateral line to distinguish this species from the closely related Eastern Blue Groper (Achoerodus viridis).
Both species of Blue Groper are protected fish in Victoria. Western Blue Groper are now regularly seen on reefs within the Marine Sanctuary.
Type: Bony Fish
Where to find: Subtidal Reefs
Size: to 1.4m