A dusky grouper is pictured above in a screen grab captured recently from a live feed broadcast online by Gibraltar’s underwater webcam.
The camera is located in a nature protection zone and officials at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change believe this rare sighting could be indicative of marine conservation measures starting to work.
“It’s the first time a dusky grouper has been seen since the area was afforded full protection under the marine protection regulations as a ‘No Take Zone’,”
said Clive Crisp, an environment officer at DECC and one of the team who monitor and maintain the underwater camera.
“We have recorded pointed nose groupers (abadejos in Spanish) on a few occasions but the elusive, sought after dusky grouper is a first and I personally believe is a testament to the fact that no fishing zones work.”
“Hopefully we will see more in this area and we hope their numbers will rise.”
As if to ram home the point, footage recorded a day after the image was taken appears to show two groupers swimming through the area.
Early morning and late evening are the best times to watch the webcam, which often shows the sea teeming with life at those times.
The department recently launched a citizen science project calling on members of the community to report any interesting sightings – the grouper was snapped by a member of the Chronicle’s staff – and help officials record marine life in the area.
Anyone keen to participate can register by expressing their interest in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org