Grouper project expert explains need for protection

| 17/02/2011

(CNS): Brice Semmens, the Department of Environment’s main collaborator on the Grouper Moon Project to preserve the single remaining spawning ground in the Cayman Islands talks about the project on the website the Naked Scientist this month. During the podcast interview Semmens illustrates how vulnerable these fish are to over fishing when he explains how the Little Cayman aggregation was reduced by over 50% after being found by local fishermen in the two years before it was placed under protection. Talking about the need to continue the conservation efforts he explains that Nassau grouper have never been seen to reproduce when they aren’t at a spawning site. That means when the fish are spawning at the site that is the only time they reproduce.

“So if you mess with that event you are cutting off, effectively, any reproduction in the population, which is a very dangerous thing to do,” Semmens says.

Listen to the podcast here  and read more about the Grouper Moon Project here



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  1. Anonymous says:

    isn’t someone going to make the comment about some people caring more about a fish than they do their fellow man? 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Groupers contain small worms. This fish should be left alone and not even eaten. The flesh contains tiny worms that are not always killed when it is cooked. Check it out yourself next time you eat some.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The idea that Cayman would allow the Grouper to become extinct is unconscionable. Even though it appears that Caymanians in general feel very little connection with their physical environment, they do like to emphasize their historical connection with the sea and their fishing heritage. If they allowed the Grouper  to disappear, then they would show pretty well convincingly that there is nothing in Nature they hold sacred, even from an economic standpoint.

    Their protected national bird, the Cayman Parrot, was until recently being openly shot in Northside without consequence, because no one was prepared to deal with the complex issues surrounding damage to farmer’s crops. This is a sad indictment of their priorities. We must do what it takes to protect our resources, and the Grouper is a valuable one, both economically and to the ecosystem. There can be no excuses, and make no mistake, it would cast Cayman in a very bad light internationally were we to fish  the Grouper to local extinction, considering that we aspire to being one of the World’s top diving destinations.  The DOE needs more resources and more political support in what it does for these islands.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A continued ban is absolutely essential, that much is obvious

  5. pmilburn says:

    Glad to see that we are still trying to help keep the Groupers from being fished out.People have to understand that we do not have the lack of  numbers that we had back in the "good old days"hence it is so important to preserve what we have for the future.People are still catching these fish during the off mating season and should be happy that there is this much interest in saving them from extinction.I remember well the anger that was generated by some of the local fishermen back in the mid 80’s when the Marine Parks were created and most if not all of them would agree NOW that it was a good idea.Some will argue that the groupers" cant done." and this is a very selfish attitude that some have.Ask them what happened to all the goggle eyes that used to run in huge schools.Fished out!!!What is happening to the Frys?Getting fished out.Lots of Jacks are also being depleted and we are to blame no one else.

             When we dive and see the amout of Silver Sides(Frys)that hang out in some of the caves and watch the Preditor fish (Yellow Tails,Jacks Groupers and many others)thatcontinually "feed" on them we soon learn that they will stop when the school gets to a certain size.Why is this done?The fish are smarter than we are and have been for hundreds of years.They know that to leave enough will ensure that they will have big numbers for the following year and so on.Yes nature has and will always continue to show us that she knows best so give it some thought and you will see that we must continue to preserve much of what we have for future generations.

  6. Anonymous says:

    To the DoE and marine law enforcement:

    Please realize and accept the reality that there are some who disagree with this protection of the grouper and protective enforcement needs to be in place because these people will selfishly fish the grouper spawning regardless.

    When these people are caught please prosecute to the full extent of the law.