This summer there are 10 early juvenile Nassau grouper living on our artificial reef array (16 total reefs) in the Sea of Abaco. All of them are under 10 cm (4 inches) total length. Based on their size, these juveniles were spawned earlier this year (Jan or Feb 2012).
To date, I have never observed Nassau grouper this small on the artificial reefs in the Sea of Abaco or on those in the Bight of Old Robinson. Early juveniles of this size are known to associate with macroalgae, seagrass and small coral clumps. We more commonly observe slightly larger juveniles in the range of 15-30 cm on the artificial reefs. These larger juveniles were also reported to be more common on artificial and natural patch reefs in Exuma. Without broader sampling it is hard to say how widespread this occurrence may be. I would be interested to know if anyone else observes a greater than normal abundance of juvenile grouper this year and whether this could indicate a strong recruitment year for Nassau grouper.