>Marv Gozum @ JHN <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>Yes, I do all the time, and it sometimes finds me when at other dive
>>sites, its a Nassau Grouper named Jerry, its partner Ben was eaten
>>last year.  They are estimated to be 10-20 years old.  Grouper
>>fishing is now banned in LYB.

I suspect that the specific names of the Nassau Groupers in this section of
Little Cayman have different names, depending on the dive operation.  For
example, my first introduction was to a NG named "Charley".

My first real introduction to the overly friendly Little Cayman Nassau
Groupers was a dive where I was looking for some little stuff, when I felt
*something* caress my inner thigh.  I look down to see a 2+ft long grouper
staring up at me from between...and just knees...Whoa!!

Fortunately, I had a weapon with me...a Nikonos V with a 1:2 macro framer.

My first photo was of his body, which he seemed to downright enjoy...I
realized that the strobe's flash parasites react, leaping off his scales.
Guess he thought I was a giant cleaner :-)

My second photo was successful in slowing down his advances:

Don writes:
> In Little Cayman last year there were several nassau groupers
> that seemed unafraid.  One allowed some divers to pet it, and
> this was encouraged by the DM on the Cayman Agressor.  I've
> always been concerned that such contact would distrub the
> protective coating on the outside of the fish. Any thoughts anyone.?

Two thoughts.

First, a couple of years ago, one of my Cayman trip reports commented on
there being an "unsual" number of groupers on Ben/Jerry/Charlie's normal
hangout - - there were over a dozen of them, and they were all acting
suspiciously "friendly" towards divers.  What I found out was that DM's from
the Agressor were modifying their behavior, by helping the groupers hunt
squirrelfish in coralheads, in exchange for them tolerating being petted by
the tourists.  Their tolerence varied.

Second, on fish contact in general, I generally think it's a bad idea to
purposefully go about wiping their protective coating off.  This doesn't
mean "No" contact whatsoever, but merely the use of some common sense:
light, infrequent contact is similar to the routine bumping and rubbing that
they do on their own, but having "everyone" do some petting (contact
frequency) or to have a a "dishrag"-like wipe (contact intensity...possibly
possible with gloves?) should be avoided.  Like everything else in life,
moderation is the key.