Fishing ban extended for grouper

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A groundswell of public support generated by Guy Harvey's latest film, “The Mystery of the Grouper Moon,” has prompted the Marine Conservation Board of the Cayman Islands to extend a ban on fishing the Nassau grouper spawning aggregation site near Little Cayman.

The board last week voted to extend the current moratorium another eight years after reviewing research conducted by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation and Oregon State University and a public education campaign supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment.

The existing ban, in place since 2003, was set to expire at the end of the year. The penalty for catching Nassau grouper in a spawning aggregation site between November and March is up to one year in prison or up to $500,000 in fines.

“The Cayman Islands are celebrating the 25 anniversary since the formation of the first marine park here, so it is fitting that such a strong conservation effort has been made by the MCB and that common sense has prevailed,” said Harvey.

In filming the research work being conducted by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Guy Harvey and award-winning filmmaker George Schellenger created a compelling and informative 45-minute documentary "The Mystery of the Grouper Moon."

The film's purpose was to document the research and make the results available in layman¹s language to the residents of the Cayman Islands. The documentary was shot entirely in the Cayman Islands and was supported by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation also supported the education campaign with custom artwork.

For information on the Nassau grouper, visit www.reef.org/programs/grouper_moon.