As part of its continued efforts to promote responsible and sustainable use of Belize’s marine resources, Green Reef has developed a Nassau Grouper Research and Advocacy Campaign. Green Reef is proud to announce that a grant from the United Nations Development Program, Global Environment Facility/Small Grants Program (UNDP GEF/SGP) has been awarded which will fund a significant portion of this project.
The Nassau Grouper has been reported to be the second most important commercial fishery in Belize but is widely believed to be at risk of collapsing due to extensive over-fishing of the species’ spawning aggregations. The Nassau Grouper is particularly vulnerable to over-fishing pressures due to its life history characteristics. Large numbers of Nassau Groupers aggregate during the full moons of December and January to spawn. These spawning aggregations are often targeted by fisherman who are familiar with the sites and are able to capture large numbers of the fish, often before they have had a chance to reproduce.
In order to better understand the state of the Nassau Grouper populations in Belize, Green Reef will be coordinating video surveys at nine sites during the spawning period in January. Several agencies and organizations have been extremely generous in donating their time and resources to furthering this important stock assessment. Green Reef wishes to acknowledge the contributions made by the Belize Fisheries Department, Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), the Belize Audubon Society, Ramon’s Village and Amigos del Mar.