Save the Nassau Grouper

The following are letters from students in Class 4P at Cayman Prep and High School.

I wish to tell the whole world not to catch Nassau Grouper. There were about 50 aggregations in the Caribbean; 17-25 are now inactive. There were five SPAGS in Cayman; four now are dormant or depleted.

My favourite fish is a Nassau Grouper because they are fun and beautiful and if you kill every Nassau Grouper there won’t be any Nassau Grouper left and no one will come to the Cayman Islands. We are losing 1,000 Nassau Grouper a year from the Cayman Islands. The Nassau Grouper spawn at sunset. When the Nassau Grouper wants to spawn, they go to the deep water where they are easily caught.

Christopher Alberga

My name is India Austin. We don’t want the fishermen to kill the Nassau groupers. Help us save our Nassau groupers by not killing them. And how can we stop that? Why don’t you eat lobsters instead of Nassau groupers? Stop fishing for Nassau groupers! Groupers are awesome fish. We love the Nassau groupers because they are beautiful fish. Do Nassau groupers like to eat other sea food? Yes they like to eat crabs. How do the Nassau groupers find their homes? I like Nassau groupers because they are very different colours and camouflaged.

India Austin

Did you happen to know that a spawning aggregation of Nassau grouper may attract hundreds, and historically, thousands of fish. I am writing to you to try to convince you to help the Government to continue the eight-year ban of Nassau grouper fishing.

Nassau grouper undergo colour change during breeding. There were about 50 aggregations and 17-25 are now inactive. If the Nassau Grouper, an apex predator, is taken out of the food web the whole system will fail. Habitat loss for the Nassau Grouper is absolutely dreadful.

Fore more information log on to www.reef.org where there is now an online petition where you can sign your name if you want to help.

Jade Barnes

You should extend the closing of the aggregations of the Nassau grouper. If the fishermen kill all of the Nassau grouper the reef will not be contained and have too much fish on the reef. They are becoming scarce. If people stop wanting Nassau grouper fishermen will stop fishing them. Since the big groupers are gone so the younger are getting fished and some don’t get to spawn once.

Nassau groupers are the most curious and beautiful fish of all. They grow slowly so when fishermen fish the big ones out, which make good eggs, they then fish the small ones and they don’t get big and make good eggs. Also they live a long time so if you don’t catch tone, then the fishermen will always try again.

Luke Byles

Did you know a Nassau grouper spawning aggregation site may attract hundreds and historically thousands of fish?

There were about 50 aggregations in the Caribbean, 17-25 are now inactive. The Nassau grouper habitat loss is dreadful.

345 days of the year there are smaller catches and smaller fish!

If the grouper, an apex predator, is gone, the fish population will all go up because the grouper will not be there to eat so all the fish will ruin the reef.

For more information go to www.reef.org where there is now an online petition where you can sign your name if you want to help.

Samantha Galvin

I am writing to you about the Nassau grouper and how we shouldn’t fish for them.

There were about 50 aggregations, 17-25 are now inactive. This year, December 2011, the grouper fishing ban will end. The Nassau grouper is a beautiful fish that we don’t want to over fish. So I suggest we stop. They are beautiful fish. They are slow at growing so they will not be able to spawn in a couple of years. They are spectacular creatures and most of them are dying already because of lionfish and over fishing. So it is our duty to look after them. Do not over fish them. Thank you. I hope you understand now.

Juliana Gaspar

The Nassau Grouper is on the endangered list! Please put a programme on your TV to warn people what will happen if we don’t stop fishing for Nassau Groupers – they may become extinct. If we stop fishing for Nassau Groupers for three or four years they will have a chance to spawn then we can catch them again! I think we should stop fishing for Nassau Grouper for three or four years or longer and then fish them again. There were about 50 spawning aggregations in the Caribbean and now 17-25 do not happen.

Matthew Hanson

Nassau groupers are becoming very scarce and wonderful fish like that Nassau should not be fished out during their spawning time. The ban on fishing Nassaus ends this December 2011. There are so many things you can do to help.

Did you know that if fishing the Nassaus goes on for about only another month all the Nassaus will be gone? They are a valuable resource in the environment. Did you know a simple thing like not eating groupers can save the Nassaus from extinction? Damselfish love to put algae on coral so it destroys the coral but Nassau groupers eat damselfish so if we let fishermen fish them out all the coral will be ruined. There were about 50 aggregations quite a while ago, now there are 17-25 inactive; this is not good news.

Tanya Henderson

Please may you tell people to stop catching the Nassau Groupers; their population is going down. There were about 50 aggregations, 17-25 are now inactive – only the Bahamas has lots of fish.

Most Nassau Groupers can spawn at the age of 7+ years or 400-450mm. If we keep catching the Nassau Groupers there will be no more Nassaus and the ecosystem will collapse. A baby Nassau is about 2mm, a teen is about 5mm. People love the lovely tasty Nassau on their dinner plate but me, no way! Nassaus must go free, not be caught on a rod.

If you would like to help go to www.reef.org

Shay Lalor

Please don’t let the fishing for the Nassau Groupers carry on…there used to be about five spawning aggregations in Cayman but now there is only one! So that’s pretty bad and this is the worst, there were 50 spawning aggregations in the Caribbean and now there are only 17-25 so soon in December all those fishers could wipe out the groupers for all!

Also Nassau Groupers are apex predators, which could be very bad so if we wipe out the Groupers then the sharks and barracudas could be wiped out as well and probably some other things could get wiped out and groupers eat the damsel fish so the coral will get destroyed because the damsel fish destroy the coral by invading it with algae, which could stop tourists coming to the Cayman Islands because tourists come to see the lovely coral, which could mean that Grand Cayman could get poor, so think of it please.

Finn Lovegrove

I would like to stop the fishermen from fishing an enormous amount of Nassau Grouper! I’m not trying to stop them from fishing Nassau Grouper forever, I’m just saying that they shouldn’t fish for 50 Nassau Groupers a day!

It is truly important that there are more Nassau Groupers left in the world because Nassau Groupers are apex predators and if there are not any more remaining, the Caribbean waters’ food webs will start to collapse!

All the Nassau Groupers are special and unique in their own way and the Nassau Grouper is a fabulous fish so lots of people don’t want to see the Nassau Grouper disappear; especially my class!

Zachary Moore

We would just like to say that the Nassau grouper population is going down extremely quickly. There were 50 spawning aggregations and now between 17 and 25 are inactive or not working.

The Nassau groupers are beautiful creatures we don’t want to lose forever. This year, December 2011, the eight-year ban on fishing grouper ends and it’s most likely that all the groupers are going to be fished out and only little groupers will be left. Too bad for us, but even worse for the groupers because young groupers don’t produce as many eggs as the older adults do.

The Nassau grouper is a very curious fish. “No other fish species has their intelligent temperament and they are a valuable resource to the Cayman Islands diving tourism industry,” says Cathy Church in What’s Hot June 2011. Thank you for reading this letter.

Zororo Mutomba

I am writing to you to extend the ban on not fishing for Nassau groupers. You should stop fishing and buying Nassau groupers because there are less than 1,000 left in Cayman Brac and they are apex predators so if they get extinct the reef ecosystem will fall down.

There were about 50 aggregation sites in the Caribbean, now there are 42 and only one in Grand Cayman. These beautiful fish can only spawn once a year and they are slow-growing. You can recognise the Nassau by the Y shape on its forehead. These fish are very friendly they will do no harm to you. The grouper’s first time at an aggregation it will be eight or nine years old.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, visit www.reef.org

Lia Piper

Since grouper migrate long distances and in some cases hundreds of miles to an aggregation site, fishing on an aggregation affects fish populations in neighbouring areas as they are unable to return to their home reefs. Fishing activity also probably disturbs spawning behaviour. There were about 50 aggregations; 17-25 are now inactive!

Most Nassau grouper spawn at the age 7+ years at 400-450mm length! Spawning sites are also called grouper holes. Nassau groupers may spawn every year. Also without the groupers eating the dusky damselfish, the damsel’s numbers grow dramatically. Damselfish create an algae farm on several types of corals, especially the stag horn coral! Grouper, especially the Nassau variety, is a controversial fish in these waters. It does well for restaurants who serve them on plates and helps pay the bills for fishermen that catch them. But like other prime resources, they are being over harvested. They are now on the verge of extinction.

Harriet Richardson

Please help us stop grouper fishing because there were about 50 aggregations and now 17-25 are inactive. Here in Grand Cayman there were five and there is only one now.

The grouper are very important because they are apex predators and if all the groupers die the reef food chain will fall down just like with the shark finning. Grouper are beautiful and we won’t be able to see them anymore.

Doug Rowland

My name is Katie. I don’t want the fishermen to kill the Nassau groupers. Help us save our Nassau groupers by not killing them.

How can we stop that? Why don’t you eat lobsters rather than Nassau groupers? Stop fishing Nassau groupers. Groupers are awesome fish. We love our Nassau groupers because they are beautiful fish.

Do Nassau groupers like to eat other sea food? They like to eat crabs. How do Nassau groupers find their homes?

I like Nassau groupers because they are very different colours and camouflage.

Katie Sewell

The Nassau grouper are endangered species and may become extinct. They are a very important marine species native to the Bahamas and Cayman region.

Some Nassau grouper have black and white stripes to camouflage with the rocks and the ground. Over 2,000 Nassau groupers are fished out every year.

When the Nassau groupers are 8 or 9 they can go to the spawning aggregation and spawn. When the egg is a day old it weight 1mm. When it is three days old it weighs 2.66mm and when it is 17 days old it weighs 5mm and then it can grow to about 8,000kg. They can also weigh to about 700 or 600 pounds.

Most of the spawning aggregations are fished out. We hope that you can help spread the word.

Eleri Stabler

I am writing to you because I want you to extend the not fishing Nassau grouper ban.

You should not fish or buy Nassau grouper because they are endangered and the numbers are going down fast. There were about 6,000 – 7,000 Nassau groups at the Little Cayman aggregation site now there are 600. In the Caribbean there were 50 aggregation sites, now half of them are inactive. There also were five in Grand Cayman; now there is only one left, so most of them are fished out! Nassau groupers are apex predators so if there are no more left, there will be a big problem with the reef ecosystem. They are very important marine fish.

For more information please log on to www.reef.org

Tilley Woodford

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’m total behind extending just not the Nassau grouper ban, but a ban on all grouper fishing in the Cayman Islands. The Bahamas has lost all their groupers so they have seen how this effects the reefs ecosystem and tourism.

    The National Trust of the Cayman Islands has a Cayman Sea Sense to inform people what not to order in restaurants. About 50% of the Cayman restaurants stand behind this initiative. Now, we need the other 50% and then the supermarkets to sign on.

    The Groupers could also be the Cayman Islands savior to the Lion fish invasion.

  2. Good work kids; I’m proud that you’re standing up for your rights to a better future, your future.
    Do not stop your endeavours for betterment of our islands.
    All school children should be sending in their thoughts and ideas in on a weekly basis.
    You have a voice just like any other adult; let it be heard.
    Congratulations, students in Class 4P at Cayman Prep and High School.

    Hey Editor, here are your next generation of writers, reporters and editors; people who will shape the face of our islands. Approach them and offer them a weekly column to write. Extend this offer to all schools.
    You’ll be doing all of us a whole lot of good.
    Some of us do listen to our youth.

  3. Bravo! Great letters from your future leaders… Continuing protection of the Nassau grouper aggregations is essential to preserving this valuable fishery resource for future generations. It will also help keep the reefs healthy for other fisheries and our enjoyment, as well as for tourism.

  4. Regardless of all the other issues plaguing our islands, fish is food and our commerce; lacking proper stewardship we will end up starving ourselves.
    Greater efforts, of all, should be put forward in preserving and wisely harvesting our marine resources!

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