According to REEF’s Christy Pattengill-Semmens, earlier this week, the Cayman Islands government enacted a comprehensive set of regulations aimed at recovering Nassau Grouper, an endangered Caribbean reef fish. The new rules are based on more than a decade of collaborative fisheries research carried out by REEF’s Grouper Moon Project. Dr. Pattengill-Semmens (Director of Science for REEF) explains:
The regulations represent the Caribbean’s most progressive set of management actions for Nassau Grouper, and include:
• All take, possession, or sale of Nassau Grouper is prohibited from December through April (during the spawning months for the species)
• When take is permitted (May – November), only fish between 16″-24” can be kept and no more than 5 Nassau Grouper per fishing vessel per day can be kept
• Nassau Grouper may not be taken on spear gun at any time
REEF initiated the Grouper Moon Project in 2001 in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, and it has become one of our flagship programs. We work in partnership with scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Oregon State University. The project is the Caribbean’s oldest continuous grouper spawning aggregation research program, and represents one of the most advanced, multi-faceted tropical fisheries research programs in the world.
[. . .] Our research has focused on the west-end aggregation site on Little Cayman, which supports one of the last great reproductive populations of this endangered species. Lessons learned in the Cayman Islands have benefited Nassau Grouper conservation efforts throughout the Caribbean.
[. . .] Grouper Moon Project has been supported by the Lenfest Ocean Program and Disney Conservation Fund. Significant field logistics support has been provided by Peter Hillenbrand, Southern Cross Club, and Little Cayman Beach Resort/Reef Divers.
[Photo above by Jim Hellemn.]
For more information, see http://www.reef.org/groupermoonproject