Blue Gropers

Blue gropers are large, long-lived, slow-growing fish that are well known by snorkelers and divers for their friendly and inquisitive natures.

Species Information:

There are two species of blue gropers endemic to Australia, the eastern blue groper (Achoerodus viridis) and western blue groper (Achoerodus gouldii).


Threatened Status:

Eastern Blue Groper: Near Threatened (IUCN – global rating)

  • Victoria – Taking or possessing is prohibited by recreational fishers
  • NSW – Spearfishing prohibited but angling permitted with a bag limit of 2 fish over 30cms with only 1 fish allowed over 60cm

Western Blue Groper: Vulnerable (IUCN – global rating)

  • WA – Daily bag limit of 1 fish over 50cms permitted
  • Victoria – Taking or possessing is prohibited by recreational fishers
  • SA – Personal daily bag limit of 1 fish allowed for fish between 60-100cms



Eastern Blue Groper:

  • From Caloundra in southern Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in southern Victoria including east Bass Strait.

Western Blue Groper:

  • From Geraldton on the central western Australian coast through to Bass Strait in the east.


Join the Blue Crew

Learn More About Blue Gropers and Our Amazing Aussie Oceans

Email Subscription

Quick Facts about Blue Gropers:
  • Despite the name, blue gropers are not a groper, but a wrasse.
  • Females and juveniles are brown to green/reddish brown. Adult males range from deep navy to cobalt blue.
  • Blue gropers begin life as females and some, but not all, change sex to males later in life. The dominant female will also change sex to male if the large male is removed (by fishing or natural mortality).
  • Endemic to Australia, there are two closely related species of blue groper – the western blue groper and the eastern blue groper. Scientists believe the separation of the two species can be traced back to the Ice Age, when temperate waters became colder and the blue groper population probably split and moved up the west and east coasts.


Threats to Blue Gropers:

Blue gropers are an important species for maintaining the balance in their ecosystem by controlling the numbers of other animals such as crabs and sea urchins.

Threats to blue gropers are mostly from fishing and harvesting aquatic resources.

In the past, the eastern blue groper was taken in large numbers by spearfishers. As a result, the species was protected with spearfishing banned in New South Wales waters in 1969. Following concern over the large catches by commercial fishers eastern blue groper was banned from sale in 1980. This has led to the stabilisation of the population, and since 1974 anglers have been able to fish for the species within strict bag limits.

Their western cousins have struggled with similar issues but less protection – and are currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Vulnerable. Western blue groper have been overexploited, but fishing restrictions are now in place to protect them.