Study: Science-based regulations needed to protect region’s coral reefs

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Print this page Email A Friend!





A new study has shown that Caribbean coral reefs are experiencing mounting pressure from global warming, local pollution and over-fishing of herbivorous fish and that fresh science-based fishery regulations are needed if coral reefs are to have a future in the face of climate change.


An international team, led by University of Queensland (UQ) researchers, has found that tighter fishery regulations are needed to preserve corals of the Caribbean.


Researcher Dr Yves-Marie Bozec, from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, said herbivorous parrotfish were needed because they eat seaweed, which can smother coral and prevent corals from recovering.


"While several countries in the Caribbean have taken the bold step of banning the fishing of parrotfish (including Belize, Bonaire, Turks and Caicos Islands), parrotfish fisheries remain in much of the region," Dr Bozec said.


The research team analysed the effects of fishing on parrotfish and combined this with an analysis of the role of parrotfish on coral reefs.


"We conclude that unregulated fisheries will seriously reduce the resilience of coral reefs," Dr Bozec said. "However, implementation of size limits and catch limits to less than 10 per cent of the fishable stock provide a far better outlook for reefs, while also allowing the fishery to persist."


Study co-author Professor Peter Mumby from UQ’s School of Biological Sciences said a number of countries wanted to modify their fisheries to reduce impacts on reefs. "What we’ve done is identify fisheries’ policies that might help achieve this," Professor Mumby said.


The new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, argues that science should be used to revise current fisheries practices for herbivorous fish in the Caribbean.


The authors have provided tools to help fisheries managers make such changes.


"Ultimately, the more we do to maintain healthy coral reefs, the more likely it is that fishers’ livelihoods will be sustained into the future," Professor Mumby said.


"We already know that failure to maintain coral habitats will lead to at least a threefold reduction in future fish catches," he added.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT