[Coral-List] New Protections for Nassau Grouper in Cayman Islands
christy at reef.org
Fri Aug 19 16:39:45 EDT 2016
Dear Coral-list community,
I am very excited and proud to share amazing news – on Monday of 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 the Grouper Moon Project, a conservation research program initiated by Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in 2001 in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment. Ongoing research and education programming is conducted in partnership with scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Oregon State University. The new legislation was included in a larger National Conservation Law. The sweeping protections enacted for Nassau Grouper in the Cayman Islands this week represent almost two decades of work and dedication by our Grouper Moon team. This science-based management action would not have been possible without the help and support of local Caymanian businesses, many REEF donors, foundations, and volunteers. We greatly appreciate all who made this important work possible.
Please see below for a press release with details on the new rules.
Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D.
Director of Science
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
Cayman Islands Enacts Sweeping Science-Based Reforms to Nassau Grouper Fishery Regulations
CONTACT: Brice Semmens, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego
bsemmens at ucsd.edu, (858) 822-0518
(Key Largo, Florida) – August 19, 2016 – On Monday, August 15, 2016, the Cayman Islands government enacted a comprehensive set of regulations aimed at recovering Nassau Grouper, an endangered Caribbean reef fish. The new regulations are based on more than a decade of collaborative fisheries research carried out by the Grouper Moon Project.
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, inclusive (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
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) initiated the Grouper Moon Project in 2001 in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment. Ongoing research and education programming is conducted 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.
Large-bodied groupers, such as Nassau Grouper, represent some of the most important fisheries in the Cayman Islands. They also contribute to the tourism economy by providing unique and highly sought-after interactive diving experiences, and play a crucial role in maintaining reef ecosystems in the region. Unfortunately, most large-bodied grouper species have experienced long-term heavy harvest. The Nassau Grouper fishery, in particular, was harvested to the point of collapse in the 1980s. Decades of fisheries research and adaptive management in the Cayman Islands have sparked a recovery in the species. The new regulations, enacted earlier this week, represent the culmination of the Cayman Islands’ commitment to science-based fisheries management.
Scientific products stemming from the Grouper Moon Project will continue to support healthy grouper fisheries in the Cayman Islands in the coming years, while maintaining the Cayman Islands’ global leadership in collaborative tropical fisheries research and management. The Grouper Moon Project is funded in part by the Lenfest Ocean Program and REEF donors. Peter Hillenbrand, Southern Cross Club, and Little Cayman Beach Resort/Reef Divers have provided significant field and logistics support for the research team.
For more information about the Grouper Moon Project, visit www.REEF.org/groupermoonproject.
The complete text of the new Grouper Legislation can be found online at http://www.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12326595.PDF
About REEF — Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 that seeks to conserve marine ecosystems by educating, enlisting, and enabling divers and marine enthusiasts to become active ocean stewards and citizen scientists. REEF membership is free and totals more than 60,000 individuals worldwide, who protect marine life through education, service, and research.
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