Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nassau

Here's a disappointingly rare sight in the Caribbean seas. This is a Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) a particularly delicious member of the grouper family. Unfortunately I only ever saw a few of these guys as they (like most of the other big groupers of the Caribbean) are far too delicious to survive in numbers in the face of modern fishing. These guys aggregate to spawn so it was historically easy to target them on mass. Also they have a rather delightful tendency to approach divers like puppies which unfortunately doesn't work so well as a survival trait when combined with spearfishers in any number.

nassau grouper

These guys top out at about 3 feet and 25 kilos (so far from the biggest of groupers) leading a solitary life in a defined territory until they aggregate to spawn in January or December time. They are now being looked after a little better by fisheries agencies and may yet recover. I hope so as I suspect this may be one of the few animals capable of eating the invasive volitans lionfish which are currently spreading through the region (similar groupers take lionfish in the indo-pacific).

1 comment:

Floridacracker said...

A beautiful example of disruptive contrast passive defense.