Volume 61

Fishing, Management, and Conservation of the Nassau Grouper, Epinephelus striatus, in the Mexican Caribbean

Aguilar-Perara, A., C. Gónzalez-Salas, and H. Villegas-Hernández.
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Date: November, 2008

Pages: 313-319

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty-First Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Gosier

Country: Guadeloupe


The Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, is one of the twenty groupers (out of 162 species worldwide) recently considered by IUCN as endangered in the Western Atlantic where a lack of a precautionary principle and an uncontrolled fishing, mostly during spawning aggregations, has rendered its population to be at risk. In the Mexican Caribbean, northern part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, it is secondary as a fishing target after the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) and the Queen conch (Strombus gigas). However, it is fished during spawning aggregations in December, January and February. Recently, there has been a progressive concern by fishers and fisheries authorities to incipiently regulating its fishery, mainly within marine protected areas (MPAs). Such concern emerges from adopting regulations derived from an official ban (February-March) from another serranid (E. morio) and the management plans from the MPAs. Unfortunately, no clear fishery statistics are available nor an official ban for E. striatus operates specifically. Currently, in the Mexican Caribbean its fishery status is considered as unknown, and its management is not properly enforced nor efficiently designed for areas (with spawning aggregations sites, such that of Mahahual) outside MPAs. Local fishers and authorities are eager to establish an official protection (federal) for this grouper due to conservation initiatives promoted by The Nature Conservancy linking fishers, managers and scientists through workshops. A strong recommendation for better manage this grouper is to find ways that fishers, managers, and scientists from Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras adopt the better science to protect it.

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