The Nassau grouper project
Nassau grouper were once the most common large grouper inhabiting the coral reefs of the Caribbean. Prior to the 1970’s, their populations were able to sustain relatively heavy fishing pressure from traps, lines and spears in shallow nearshore waters throughout much of the Greater Caribbean region. However, in the 1970’s, the expansion of local fisheries to deeper off shore waters led to the discovery of large grouper spawning aggregation sites where hundreds and thousands of Nassau grouper, and other species, gathered to spawn during specific months and locations.
What followed is a textbook perfect storm scenario of the near extinction of a species. Nassau grouper are now listed on the IUCN Red List and is considered “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
Dr. Richard S. Nemeth, Ph.D., at the University of the Virgin Islands, has been studying the Nassau grouper since 2003. We present here in three parts his indepth investigation into the fate of the Nassau grouper, the rays of hope seen as a result of local and federal regulations and our expectations for the future.
The Grammanik Bank
The Grammanik Bank is the only known spawning location in the USVI region for critically endangered Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus).
Nassau grouper migration
Part two of our series, Nassau Grouper Migration, will address the question of "How far do Nassau grouper migrate to their spawning sites?" Look for this update in early March 2018.
Check back for part three of our Nassau grouper series.