The Nassau grouper is a commercially and ecologically important Caribbean fish species that is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and threatened under the Endangered Species Act in the US. While the Bahamas is one of the few places in the Caribbean where populations are still viable, the Nassau grouper is in steep decline due to unsustainable fishing. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and a national seasonal closure during the spawning season are promising tools for promoting the recovery of the species. However, limited compliance with regulations places the species at further risk.
Moore Bahamas Foundation has supported the Perry Institute as it refines and implements a comprehensive Nassau grouper conservation and management plan that includes research, MPA and fishery management, and communications to promote compliance with regulations. Perry Institute continues to conduct research on the status of Nassau grouper populations at spawning aggregations, where all annual reproduction occurs over a short time period and where fish are must vulnerable to exploitation.
Moore Bahamas and SeaLegacy also recently partnered with Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF) to amplify awareness of Nassau Grouper’s closed season (December 1 – February 28) though a public service video widely shared across the Bahamas.