This last site had over 4,000 spawning Nassau Grouper removed from it, in only 2 years of fishing…
A marine scientist doing field work
at the Nassau Grouper aggregation
in the waters off Little Cayman.
[Photo courtesy the Grouper Moon Project]
A few years ago I started covering this story after a series of massive overfishing episodes threatened this critical predatory reef species prompted the Cayman Islands Government to close the fishing site on Little Cayman until they could gather data on the Nassau Grouper. They discovered that the thousands of Grouper in that single site were all resident Little Cayman Nassau Grouper. Now the importance of this aggregation site is internationally recognized, not just for the health of Little Cayman’s reefs, but for the future study of this species.
As the winter full moon approaches, the Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman prepares for the annual arrival of the Grouper Moon Project team. Each year from late January to early February, scientists and volunteers of the Reef Environment Education Foundation (REEF) join staff from the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (DOE) to document the last healthy, active and protected Nassau Grouper spawning site just off Little Cayman. The Southern Cross Club and others in the local community provide vital support to the team, recognizing that it takes an entire community to bring this historical and endangered species back from the brink of extinction.
You can read more here: (http://www.pitchengine.com/pitches/7d1e2df1-4739-4736-80be-71a41b0fc895)
Follow along here: (http://www.reef.org/groupermoonproject)
Footage and discussion from Little Cayman and one of the last (fairly) healthy nassau grouper spawning aggregations in the Caribbean.
There’s really good evidence to suggest that when those grouper are spawning out there, the baby grouper that are produced end up back on the Cayman reefs.
After they sold what they could here then they took their catch to Grand Cayman and sold what they could there. The market was glutted and lots of fish went to waste… spoiled.
Grouper are an apex predator on coral reefs… the more of them you have, ultimately the healthier your coral reefs will be.