Eight sites are monitored as regularly as possible and include: Rocky Pt. (Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve), Dogflea Caye and Maugre Caye (Turneffe Islands), Sandbore (Lighthouse Reef), Emily/Caye Glory, Gladden Spit (Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve), Northeast Point (Glover's Reef Marine Reserve) and Nicholas Caye (Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve).The monitoring teams are guided by the Reef Fish Spawning Aggregation Monitoring Protocol for the Mesoamerican Reef and Wider Caribbean.
In their February monitoring, the ERI counted a maximum of one hundred and twenty four (124) groupers at the Maugre Caye SPAG site. This was recorded at about sixty feet (60) deep, fifty (50) feet above seafloor. Mapping of the aggregation area showed a total area of 10,368 m2.
Nassau Groupers are especially vulnerable to over fishing when it comes to their predictable behaviour during spawning. For fishermen familiar with these cycles this is the best time to catch this species as they just simply go to the aggregation site to fish them. This presents a major management challenge because the fish also takes a long time to reach maturity. If a large number of mature adults are fished from the population one year, it will take a long time before the population numbers can return to normal. These characteristics combined with the relatively strong demand for the delicious grouper fillet and roe eggs require that some measures need to be continuously taken to ensure the sustainability and preservation of these exquisite tasting fishes. This is why Belize declared the major Nassau grouper spawning sites as no-take marine reserves.