DUSKY GROUPER ‘The Lord of the Reef’


Marine biologist Mert realizes the catastrophic human impact on coastal areas and marine ecosystems. He pursue following the story around one special fish, the dusky grouper, and starts to film the very first protection efforts and the struggle given to conserving the area as a newly declared marine park. Nonetheless, Mert was a ferocious underwater hunter, who spearfished since he was 7. Yet, he realizes the effect he has on the coastal ecosystem singlehandedly. In years working as a marine biologist who is working on marine conservation and shooting documentaries for protecting marine life. He witnesses the ban of fishing of the dusky grouper and the regeneration of marine life within the perimeters of the brand-new marine park and questions the way we threat these animals as a delicacy. 

Directors Statement

Dusky grouper is a known and exploited inhabitant of entire Mediterranean coastal line for thousand of years. It has been subjected to varios artwork and literature, considered as a symbol species for the Mediterranean Sea. The fish can get seriously large, nearly two meters long, weigh more than 60 kilograms and live 60 years. It is a prized game fish for both spear fisherman and anglers. As a result of its humongous size and because of its rich flavor, it is considered as a delicacy in coastal restaurants. Dusky grouper has endangered species status however, it is being fished heavily by small fisherman with other grouper species some of which has more critical status than the dusky grouper. In order to mitigate the impact of fishing and other human activities on marine ecosystems the use of spatial management tools such as marine protected areas (MPAs) is the most accepted tool for conservancy. One of the main strength of the MPA & SPA’s is protecting the unknown overlooked species that are not economically important but quite oppositely crucial for a healthy ecosystem. Accordingly achieving sufficient amount of such zones are a must in order to protect as many species as possible. Unfortunately it is not possible to illuminate every single threatened species and describe their story in a documentary. That being said, alternatively we are selecting a species of importance that has enough affection from all sides of the story, known to inhabitants and exploiters of the entire Mediterranean Sea. And beyond all, The Mediterranean Dusky Grouper is perhaps by far the single most important species for underwater ecotourism. There are many fish named in local areas and protected by volunteers for both economical & contentment reasons. In a limited species diversity region as Mediterranean Sea, it can be easily perceptible that dusky grouper is perhaps the most desired animal for both divers and underwater photographers. Selecting this species as our subject is not a coincidence due to the well-stated reasons above. But it has another task; to explicate the problems of Mediterranean Sea, illuminating the other endangered species, emphasizing the importance and necessity of MPA’s and promoting ecotourism and so we believe dusky grouper with its loveliness and communication with the human beings, is for sure the animal of the job!

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