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Invasion of the Hybrid Grouper

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

By Marla Lise

Marla is an ocean lover with a passion for marine conservation

Hybrid groupers are becoming a common sight in Singapore - outside of our restaurants, anglers catch them along our coastlines and offshore.

Where did they come from?

Groupers are good eating. Unfortunately, because of their popularity, suppliers had to do something drastic in order to meet the demand. So, they chose two grouper species, the male Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) - also known as the Queensland grouper and the female Tiger or Brown Marbled Grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus) and with them, produced the fast-growing and robust hybrid Groupers, or Dragon Tiger Groupers, that are slowly invading the oceans.

What’s the problem?

Although breeding hybrid Groupers may solve the problem of high demand from fish connoisseurs, they cause a much larger problem that we might not even notice until it is too late.

Above: Catch report by Davy Ong - fishing trip in Singapore in 2018.

Their long term effects on the ecosystem are still unknown. With their voracious appetites, they compete with native fish for food. There are also risks of them breeding with other species outside of captivity which may cause more strains of hybrid fish.