REEF’s Grouper Moon Project was recently recognized with one of American Fisheries Society (AFS)'s highest honors, the William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award. The Ricker Award is given annually, if warranted, to an individual or organization for a singular accomplishment or long-term contributions that advance aquatic resource conservation at a national or international level. The award was accepted on REEF's behalf by REEF Board member and longtime Grouper Moon scientist Dr. Scott Heppell at the annual AFS meeting last month.
Scott commented, "it is truly rewarding to be recognized by the AFS for the success of the Grouper Moon Project. The Cayman Islands arguably have the healthiest Nassau Grouper population left on the planet, and it is the direct result of tremendous efforts made by REEF and its citizen scientists, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, and the people of the Cayman Islands. We look forward to the continued success of the project and hope that our efforts serve as a model for Nassau Grouper conservation in other nations of the Caribbean.”
The American Fisheries Society is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science, and conserving fisheries resources. The Grouper Moon Project is a conservation science partnership between REEF and the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, with scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and Oregon State University, aimed at studying Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus,) a social and ecological cornerstone of Caribbean coral reefs. Since 2002, the Grouper Moon team has been studying one of the largest, and one of the last known, spawning aggregations of Nassau Grouper left in the Caribbean. Their work in the Cayman Islands has led to numerous scientific publications and resulted in sweeping science-backed regulations and protections. For more information, visit www.REEF.org/groupermoonproject.