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nassau_grouper [2014/01/28 21:32] (current)
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 +{{::​nassaugrouper.jpg?​200|}}The Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) is one of the large number of perciform fish in the family Serranidae that are commonly referred to as groupers. It is the most important of the groupers for commercial fishery in the West Indies, but has been endangered by overfishing. The Nassau grouper is a US National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern. Species of Concern are those species about which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service have some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the Endangered Species Act. The Nassau grouper is a medium to large fish, growing to over a meter in length and up to 25 kilograms in weight. It has a thick body and large mouth, which it uses to "​inhale"​ prey. Its color varies depending on an individual fish's circumstances and environment. In shallow water (up to 60 feet), the grouper is a tawny color, but specimens living in deeper waters are pinkish or red, or sometimes orange-red in color. Superimposed on this base color are a number of lighter stripes, darker spots, bars and patterns, including black spots below and behind the eye, and a forked stripe on the top of the head.  The Nassau grouper lives in the sea near reefs; it is one of the largest fish to be found around coral reefs. It can be found from the shoreline to nearly 100-m deep water. The Nassau grouper lives in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Bermuda, Florida and the Bahamas in the north to southern Brazil, but it is only found in a few places in the Gulf of Mexico, most notably along the coast of Belize. ​ The threats to the grouper include overfishing,​ fishing during the breeding period, habitat loss, pollution, invasive species, and catching undersized grouper. ​ The current population is estimated to be more than 10,000 mature individuals,​ but the population is thought to be decreasing. Their suitable habitat is declining; they need quality coral reef habitats to survive. Their population outlook is not optimistic.
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