The most important commercial grouper in the West Indies and a member of the Serranidae family, the Nassau grouper has been very heavily fished and is continually vulnerable to overﬁshing, especially during its spawning and migrating seasons.
IdentificationAlthough its color pattern varies, the Nassau grouper usually has a light background, with a wide, dark brown stripe running from the tip of the snout through each eye to the start of the dorsal ﬁn, as well as four to ﬁve irregular dark bars running vertically along the sides.
Two distinctive features are the black dots always present around the eyes, and a large black saddle on the caudal peduncle, also always present no matter what color the fish is. The third spine of the dorsal fin is longer than the second, the pelvic ﬁns are shorter than the pectoral ﬁns, and the dorsal fin is notched between the spines. It has the ability to change color, from pale to almost black.