[Coral-List] Grouper's Last Stand

Christy Semmens christy at reef.org
Tue Jun 7 12:13:33 EDT 2011

We are happy to share with you a short (3-minute) Public Service Annoucement (PSA)  from the REEF Grouper Moon Project, talking about the importance of protections for spawning aggregations and the work that REEF and our collaborators at the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment (CIDOE) and Oregon State University have done on this important conservation issue.

The PSA is on REEF's We Speak Fish YouTube channel -- http://www.youtube.com/user/WeSpeakFish

Cayman Island spawning aggregations have been seasonally protected from fishing for the last 8 years at all current and historic aggregation sites. This protection expires at the end of 2011. The status of future protections for the aggregations is still uncertain. Based on the research and findings of the Grouper Moon Project, the CIDOE has recommended a permanent seasonal closure during spawning season for Nassau grouper. There has been some vocal opposition, but we are hopeful that science and common sense will prevail.

The primary objective of the Grouper Moon Project is to evaluate the importance of Nassau grouper spawning aggregations to local fisheries and coral reef ecosystems. Little Cayman Island in the Cayman Islands is home to one of the last known, and largest, spawning aggregations of the endangered Nassau grouper. For ten days following winter full moons, thousands of large grouper meet at known reef sites for short periods of time (days to weeks) and release their gametes in massive spawning bursts. Since 2002, REEF has coordinated annual efforts to monitor and study the Little Cayman Nassau grouper aggregation. The project has grown in scope to include an ambitious acoustic tagging research project, juvenile habitat and genetics studies, and oceanographic connectivity research. For more information on the Grouper Moon Project, see http://www.REEF.org/groupermoonproject

Brice Semmens, Ph.D., Grouper Moon Project PI, brice.semmens at gmail.com
Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., Director of Science, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), christy at REEF.org

Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D.
Director of Science
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)

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