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Father and son catch and release an endangered fish weighing more than 400 pounds

Posted at 7:31 AM, Oct 21, 2019

RIVERA BEACH, Fla - Brendan and Max Poirier are big fans of the YouTube fishing show, BlacktipH. The show with more than 2 million subscribers features massive and even rare catches off the coast of Palm Beach County. The brothers love host Josh Jorgensen’s high energy and knack for reeling in the big ones.

“He caught really big sharks and Goliath groupers,” said 10-year-old Max. “Not many people catch that.”

The Poiriers reeled in some rare, large fish, including an extremely endangered Goliath grouper, weighing 400 pounds.

Robert Poirier surprised his boys with a trip to fish with Jorgenson over the summer. The family from Georgia flew into West Palm Beach and spent two days out on the water where they snagged the catch of a lifetime.

On the first day, 8-year-old Brendan pulled in a big one.

“It was about a 45-minute fight and we finally got it in. It was a 9-foot dusty shark that weighed 300 pounds.”

That’s more than 5 times the average weight of a kid Brendan’s age.

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Robert Poirier with his sons Brendan, 8, and Max, 10, with Brendan's catch, a 300-pound, 9-foot dusty shark while fishing with BlacktipH Fishing guide Josh Jorgensen.

The next day, the catches got even bigger.

“We had a crazy day. Thirty to forty goliath groupers under the boat,” Poirier excitedly explained.

Max started reeling them in early.

“The first one I caught was a 250 pound goliath grouper, which I did not expect to be my first fish,” he said.

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10-year-old Max Poirier with his first catch, a 250-pound Goliath grouper.

His little brother and dad weren’t to be left out. Some of the fish they caught weighed nearly 400 pounds.

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Brendan shows off his Goliath grouper.

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, Goliath groupers are the largest members of the sea bass family. They are critically endangered and can grow more than 8 feet long and weigh up to 800 pounds.

Goliath groupers mostly eat crustaceans, like spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs. The Florida Museum of Natural History says they can live for decades. The oldest verifiable Goliath grouper was 37 years old, but they can live up to 50 years.

In all, the Poirier family caught around 2,200 pounds of fish. All of the fish were released back into the ocean.

“I don’t think we can top this,” Poirier said of his trip with the boys. “There were multiple catches of a lifetime.”

Although The Poiriers caught and released the endangered fish, NOAA says there is still a risk to the fish.

"Catch and release is a great conservation strategy, but simply letting a fish go does not guarantee it will live," NOAA says on its website.

This story was originally published by Adrienne Stein at WPTV.