In fact, in the last 40 years, over 1 million pounds of rock fish has been caught in Bermuda waters. The black grouper is a large marine fish, growing up to 60 inches in length and 220lbs in weight.
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You have contacted us immediately after booking with all the details of the other deal including a link to the offer on the website and the exact price being quoted. But NO LONGER, not after our two-week October stay, first as members of a REEF Survey Team followed by several days spent with local friends.
I have to admit that we possibly wouldn’t have made it to Bermuda at all if it hadn’t been for repeated invitations from four magnetic Bermudian personalities Judge and Eric Lee, Mani McAllister, and Chris Floor, friends we‘ve become acquainted with during REEF sponsored trips. The trio of Judge, an environmental dynamo, her lifelong friend Mani, and Chris the Collector of Specimens for the Bermuda Aquarium, were finally too much for us to resist.
So on a weekend in early October a team of a dozen REEF volunteers joined local fish fanciers at Grotto Bay, home of Triangle Diving our underwater host for the week. Bermuda ’s high-profile reef system with its thick carpeting of coral is far and away the richest and healthiest we’ve visited in the Western Hemisphere.
Fewer fish life, compared with tropical destinations far to the south, is a bit unsettling until you start poking about and Bermuda begins surrendering her treasures. Later, while exploring the sand I note another Bermuda oddity, an indigenous hermit crab that takes up residence inside a stationary worm tube rather than a mobile mollusk shell.
Nine hundred miles east of Charleston, the narrow 22-mile island of Bermuda, the only dry remnant of an expansive volcanic plateau, sits in the warm wash of the Gulf Stream creating an oasis for tropical creatures in a far-flung sub-tropical clime. During the week the REEF group, thanks to Triangle Divers and the dynamic Judge Lee, are kept to a delightfully full schedule.
After two extended survey dives each day the group is whisked off in the evenings to a night snorkel and picnic at Whalebone Bay, presentations by local fish, turtle and whale conservationists, a slide show at the venerable Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, a private tour of the nature preserve on Nonesuch Island (former headquarters of ocean explorer, naturalist and executive of the New York Zoological Society, William Beebe), and a grand finale dinner and behind the scene look at the Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo (Baez). While surveying an inshore grass bed around the remains of one of Beebe’s research vessels, deliberately sunk as a breakwater off Nonesuch Island, Anna returns to the boat clutching a bottle dug from the sand.
The all-too-efficient harvesting method, which began after WWII, proliferated as demand for food fish increased with population growth and the expansion of tourism. A marked decline in food fish populations was officially noted as early as 1975 when catch records were first compiled.
By the 1980s there had been a complete collapse of once abundant Nassau Grouper due to the direct targeting of the species’ annual weeklong mass spawning aggregation at a traditional site. As a direct result of a heroic effort by the then Minister of the Environment, Ann Cartwright-DeCouto, fish pots were permanently banned from Bermudian waters in 1990, one of the first governments in the world to muster the courage to take such an audacious step.
Although the far-sighted legislation was politically costly, the environmental results two-decades later are obvious with populations of most bottom-dwelling fishes showing a marked rebound. Sadly, because of the direct targeting of their annual spawning aggregation preceding the fish-pot prohibition, Nassau groupers have been unable to make a comeback.
An even more critical factor is the species’ wider reproductive window, which makes them less vulnerable to targeted fishing. However, the latest technique of trolling for the great fish, combined with the recent discovery of the specie’s traditional spawning grounds has renewed concern for their welfare.
Even though burdened with a demanding work schedule and a limited fuel budget the group has already documented much of the groupers’ courtship behavior, and most important, substantiated that the aggregation, which at times numbers in the hundreds, remains at the spawning grounds far longer than previously believed. The results of their venture has prompted the Department of Environmental Protection to consider extending the existing ban on fishing in the area, or possibly closing the grounds permanently.
Having an unfamiliar animal respond to your touch with such apparent pleasure makes it difficult for anyone to think of the lovable fish and its wild brethren as nothing more than unprocessed files. It is highly unlikely that the Indo-Pacific scorpion fish, which have inhabited local waters for nearly a decade, can be eradicated. The goal of the project is to limit their numbers on critical reef tracks allowing the natural recruitment of settling fishes to continue.
The number of lionfish appears to be down this year, but Chris, realizing how new we are to this game, is cautious, concerned that they might have simply migrated to deeper water. During the REEF week, the crew was happy to have so many good eyes aboard to help track down the wily culprits.
Although Anna and I heard many intriguing stories about Bermuda ’s fishes from Chris, it was his tales about the tiny army of animals he finds traveling with rafts of Sargasso that first sparks our interest. The isolated island, near the western fringe of the two million square mile Sargasso Sea, receives great drifts of Sargasso weed with every easterly blow.
Our group gets so absorbed in sorting out the menagerie of miniatures concealed in the weed that we find it hard to pass a raft without having a look. With a gentle surge lapping at his knees, Chris bends forward patiently staring into a tangle of bobbing weed.
A number of tiny jacks and chubs accompany us back to the aquarium where they will be at first quarantined and later raised to become part of the exhibit. While examining the pea-sized trophies buzzing about in the bucket, Chris explains how well these fry adapt to captivity compared to larger juveniles or adults set in their way.
The Bermuda Zoological Society will be hosting a lecture event Backgrounder in Bermuda ”, presented by Dr. Tammy Warren, Senior Marine Resources Officer, Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The lecture will take place on Tuesday, January 23rd at 7.00pm with doors opening at 6:30pm.
The event poster says, “Come early and enjoy a look at our renovated display hall and graphics. Rating is available when the video has been rented.
Show preshow less Loading... The flavors of Bermuda are diverse, blending culinary influences, ingredients and techniques from the Caribbean, British, West African, Native American and Portuguese.
Go for “the works” and add on lettuce, tomato, grilled Bermuda onions, cheese, hot sauce and coleslaw. It's a savory dish made with black -eyed peas, sliced sausage, bacon or chicken, Bermuda onion and a heap of brown rice, seasoned with garlic and thyme.
This delicacy is smaller than its Maine counterpart and doesn’t have claws, so most of the tender, flavorful meat is found in the tail. Bermuda chefs often mix spiny lobster into chowder, tacos and pasta sauces, but it’s just as delicious with a brushing of butter.
Yellow fin tuna are a mainstay of Bermuda ’s waters in the spring and fall; the largest caught here weigh around 200 pounds. Found in tropical seas all over the world, the glass eye (also known as the Catalina) is not actually a snapper; it’s a member of the big eye family of fishes.
Fishing for Bone fish (Album villas) and Pompano (Trichinosis guide) is only permitted with hook and line. A vessel may not have more than a total of five hooks in the water at a time.
Fixed fishing gear of any kind (including, but not limited, to pots and fixed nets) is prohibited. Recreational fishermen may only use cast nets not exceeding eight feet (2.4 meters) in diameter.