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Getting the Right Deterrent

April 18, 2012

There is good news on the Nassau Grouper:

New hope may be emerging for the endangered Nassau Grouper, following a 10-year effort to protect spawning so-called “aggregation sites” for the fish.  A growing and healthy population of Nassau Grouper now exists on the reefs near Little Cayman, giving scientists optimism that the species’ local recovery could spread through the Caribbean.

So what went right here?  The article quotes a local conservationist who says that the project’s success was due to stakeholder cooperation:

“With the right cooperation, the Nassau Grouper will become a symbol of conservation for threatened marine species, a shining example of what can be achieved if all the stakeholders work together.”

But what I find far more compelling is the deterrent effect of the severe penalites:

Currently, the penalty for catching Nassau Grouper in an aggregation site between November and March is up to one year in prison or up to $500,000 in fines.

And the deterrent seems to be credible.  Here’s a nice article on some fuming grouper fishermen.

I would also suspect that there must be some good money going into enforcement, possibly thanks to the Cayman Island’s very high standards of living.  The GDP per capita is estimated to be the 14th highest in the world.

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