The goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara, a threatened fish has been protected from fishing in Brazil since 2002. However, poaching records have raised questions about the extent of compliance to the fishing moratorium. We compiled data of commercial landings figuring in official reports as well as episodes of apprehensions of illegal catches by environmental police. According to reports, national catches declined seventy percent after the moratorium establishment, with an average of 393 tons per year of poaching between 2003 and 2011. Although poachers are occasionally caught during environmental police raids along Brazilian coast, in Pará State catches are reported to continue and poachers have targeted aggregations. Data from those episodes do not reflect the real number of poaching, which is believed to be much higher, once fisher process fishes before landings to confuse the supervision and weak enforcement efforts. As management strategies, we recommend the continuity of the fishing moratorium, besides increase in surveillance and enforcement. The choice of priority areas for concentration of goliath grouper conservation efforts may be an effective approach.