The dusky grouper has been a popular target for Mediterranean fishermen since prehistoric times – their bones have been found in human settlements dating back more than 100,000 years. It’s a slow growing, flavourful and, with the advent of modern sport fishing, endangered species.
In an effort to reverse the decline of multiple species, including groupers, a number of no-take marine reserves have been established across the Mediterranean. But it’s proven difficult to evaluate the success of these protected areas precisely because humans have had an impact on the species for so long. Ideally, reserve biologists would compare modern fish to groupers hundreds or thousands of years ago, before the advent of large-scale commercial fishing.
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