Grouper Fishing Ban Extended
The Marine Conservation Board has extended the grouper fishing ban in spawning areas during the spawning season. The ban has been extended for a further eight years giving the endangered fish an opportunity to continue their recovery.
The grouper holes were first closed in 2003 in what was planned to be alternate years of being open for fishing. However, the scientists determined that it was mathematically impossible for the population to replenish itself if large numbers of fish, especially the big spawners, were killed.
The Marine Conservation Board therefore imposed an eight year ban on all grouper spawning sites to give the Nassau grouper a chance to recover, which was due to expire at the end of this year. However, the numbers of spawning groupers have grown only by about 1500 fish. The average size is dropping and they are seeing more of the younger “teenage” fish, though there are still the larger fish, who, scientists have found, are needed to guide the younger fish to the SPAG.
Line fishing of grouper outside the spawning sites is allowed and the Department of Environment has said that 20% of the tagged groupers had been lost outside the area, and they estimate that roughly this proportion of the total population is being fished this way.
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