The Nassau grouper is one of the most commercially important species throughout the Caribbean – including here, in The Bahamas.
As a top predator, Nassau grouper are vital to us and our oceans survival as they maintain the health of our reefs and therefore, they play an important role in securing our fisheries food supply.
Due to overfishing Nassau grouper is on the brink of extinction. It is currently listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Unlike other species of fish that may produce offspring year-round, Nassau grouper reproduce in only a few places and only during the winter months each year. These fish spawn immediately after the full moon from December to March. Individuals travel several dozen miles and more to form part of a very large group called spawning aggregations — thousands of individual groupers reproducing together for just a few days before returning to their home reefs.
They aggregate in the same place at the same time every year making them an easy target. Even fishers who use a line and a hook can be extremely harmful to the species.
In efforts to protect Nassau grouper, it’s now the official closed fishing season. This critically endangered species is off limits – that means no catching, purchasing or selling it from December 1 through February 28th.
If you are a restaurant or a chef – don’t serve it – even frozen. If you are a customer, or shopping – choose an alternative dish!
You can help ensure Nassau grouper does not go extinct by writing to our government to manage and establish more Marine Protected Areas to promote the preservation of spawning sites.
And you can report any illegal activity to law enforcement agencies.
Let’s do our part to protect the Nassau grouper for future generations. Choose another fish – and help spread the word by telling a friend.