Fishing Indirectly Impacts Coral Reefs Finds New Report

SeaDiscovery.com
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Reef grazing fish: Image credit, Brian Zgliczynski, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

In the first global assessment of its kind, a science team led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has produced a landmark report on the impact of fishing on a group of fish known to protect the health of coral reefs. The report, published in the journal 'Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences)', offers key data for setting management and conservation targets to protect and preserve fragile coral reefs.

Beyond their natural beauty and tourist-attraction qualities, coral reefs offer economic value estimated at billions of dollars for societies around the world. Scripps Master’s student Clinton Edwards, his advisor Jennifer Smith, and their colleagues at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps, along with scientists from several international institutions, have pieced together the first global synthesis on the state of plant-eating fish at coral reef sites around the world.

These herbivorous fish populations are vital to coral reef health due to their role in consuming seaweed, making them known informally as the “lawnmowers” of the reef. Without the lawnmowers, seaweeds can overgrow and out-compete corals, drastically affecting the reef ecosystem.

Among their findings, the researchers found that populations of plant-eating fish declined by more than half in areas that were fished compared with unfished sites.

The researchers also found that fishing alters the entire structure of the herbivore fish community, reducing the numbers of large-bodied feeding groups such as “grazers” and “excavators” while boosting numbers of smaller species such as algae-farming territorial damselfishes that enhance damaging algae growth.

The authors argue that such evidence from their assessment should be used in coral reef management and conservation, offering regional managers data to show whether key herbivores are fished down too low and when they’ve successfully recovered in marine protected areas.

Source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego

Maritime Reporter March 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Carnival Sails to Profit

The world's largest cruise company Miami-based Carnival Corp reported a net profit of $49 million, or 6 cents per share in the first quarter ended Feb. 28.   That

Ukraine Arrests Turkish Ship for Visiting Crimean Port

Turkey owned merchant ship flying the flag of Tuvalu was arrested by Ukrainian authorities over a visit it made to a port in Crimea, reports Reuters. The ship's captain detained.

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Environmental

USCG Flush Ice down River Systems to Facilitate Shipping

The Coast Guard cutter fleet is flushing ice through the Great Lakes river systems to prevent ice jams and facilitate commercial shipping as the shipping season

Chile Desert Rains Sign of Climate Change

The heavy rainfall that battered Chile's usually arid north this week happened because of climate change, a senior meteorologist said, as the region gradually

Mexico Unveils National Strategy ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Mexico on Friday said it will cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2026, becoming one of the first countries to formally submit its national climate plan the

Ocean Observation

Is China Building a Naval Base in Africa?

Recently, The Namibian reported the existence of a "confidential letter from Namibia's ambassador to China, Ringo Abed, to Namibia's foreign minister stating that

Indonesia Partners with China on Maritime

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged increased maritime cooperation during the formers visit to China.   The joint

Damen joins World Ocean Council

Dutch-based Damen Shipyards Group has become the latest member of the World Ocean Council (WOC).    The global shipbuilder headquartered in the Netherlands is

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.4988 sec (2 req/sec)