sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : World-first discovery 'can help save coral reefs'

World-first discovery 'can help save coral reefs'

'An area of high coral cover on the Far North Great Barrier Reef - Eric G Matson'    Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS)    Click Here to view large photo

An international team of scientists has achieved a major breakthrough in fishing sustainability on coral reefs which could play a vital role in preventing their collapse.

'Fishermen and scientists have long wondered how many fish can be taken off a reef before it collapses, says Dr Nick Graham of the ARC Centre of Excellence (ARC CoE) for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

'The consequences of overfishing can be severe to the ecosystem and may take decades to recover, but hundreds of millions of people depend on reefs for food and livelihoods, so banning fishing altogether isn’t a reality in many nations.'

In a report in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) the researchers demonstrate how overfishing can generate a predictable sequence of events that lead to the collapse of reef ecosystems.

Their research offers a vital new tool for managing corals reefs and tropical fisheries worldwide, providing clear targets for sustainability that can help reef fisheries support the very resource they depend on.

'Our work shows that as fish biomass – the number and weight of fish living on a reef – declines due to fishing pressure, you cross a succession of thresholds, or tipping points, from which it is increasingly hard to get back,' Dr Graham explains..

'For example, you see patches of weeds replacing coral, you see more sea urchins devouring the coral, you see a general decline in the species richness on the reef, and you see less coral cover.

'The loss of hard corals is actually the last stage in the collapse of the reef system. Though many people take it as a major warning sign, in fact, by the time you see the loss of live coral cover, it may be already too late to save the reef.'

The study shows that in well-protected areas, there are typically 1000-1500 kilos of reef fish of various species per hectare of coral reef.

As the volume is fished down below 1000 kilos, the early warning signs – like increased seaweed growth and urchin activity, begin to show up.

The researchers found that between 300-600 kilos/ha there appeared to be a window of what is known as maximum sustainable yield, but when the fish stock drops below 300 kilos/ha the reef is in real trouble, they say.

Dr Aaron MacNeil from the Australian Institute of Marine Science adds: 'This information is critical to policy makers and reef managers: if fish stocks can be maintained at a certain level, the chances of retaining a sustainable fishery and a healthy reef system are greatly improved.

'It’s a way of understanding the health of the whole system, not just parts of it,' he says. 'It offers managers a tangible target for protecting both the fishery and the reef, and it supports the need for long-term monitoring of fish in places such as the Great Barrier Reef.'

'Of course, having a target is one thing, but achieving it is, well, another kettle of fish' adds Dr Joshua Cinner, also from the ARC CoE. 'So we also assessed how well different reef management schemes did at maintaining reefs within or above this sustainability window.

Reef fisheries with no regulations tended to perform poorly, with some completely collapsed. No-take marine reserves, where fishing was prohibited were the best performers and tended to maintain key ecosystem processes, such as predation.

'But people depend on reefs for their livelihoods, so we can’t prohibit fishing everywhere.' notes Dr. Cinner. 'A key finding from our study was that even easily enforceable regulations that restrict gear or the types of species that can be caught helped maintain biomass. These regulations are often more palatable to fishermen than no-take closures and consequently receive higher levels of support and compliance.'

The researchers point out their work was carried out on Indian Ocean coral reefs, and needs to be confirmed in the Pacific and Great Barrier Reef regions – however they are confident a similar relationship exists between the volume of fish and overall reef health. Similar relationships may also apply in other ecosystems.

Their paper Critical thresholds and tangible targets for ecosystem-based management of coral reef fisheries by Tim R. McClanahan, Nicholas A. J. Graham, M. Aaron MacNeil, Nyawira A. Muthiga, Joshua E. Cinner, J. Henrich Bruggemann and Shaun K. Wilson is published in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies website




by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=89237

9:46 PM Mon 3 Oct 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World

















Audi Melges 20 U.S. Nationals - Oleander takes early lead by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,






2014 Detroit Cup - Sam Gilmour leads by Dobbs Davis, Detroit, Michigan








Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Riding the AC45 - VIDEO by Crosbie Lorimer, Hamilton Island










America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,


Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad talks Time and Money (Part II) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,


















AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos by American Windsurfing Tour,






Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; MC38s Lindeman Island Race VIDEO
2014 Audi Melges 20 U.S. National Championship - Ready to rock
IFDS Worlds - Wind delays, but racing continues in Halifax
IFDS World Championships - Day 2 images by Jude Robertson
MS Cup - Three days until the start
America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature
ISAF seeking hosting bids for Nations Cup
Laser 4.7 Youth Worlds - Luvisetto and Alexadr Boite victorious +Video
IFDS World Championships - Action shots by Tim Wilkes
Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia
World Yacht Racing Forum 2014: 'Growing the business of Yacht Racing'
Clipper Race: 2015-16 edition of world's longest ocean race 70% full
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland - Swish smash 5th World Record
Leaderboards take shape at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014
IFDS Worlds - Hot competition on first day of racing
Challenging Conditions - CORK OCR
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 for the US Sailing Team
2014 Melges 20 World Championship - Countdown begins
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 3
America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature
Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3   
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.   
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1   
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson   
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled   
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed   
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium   
IFDS Worlds - Former president presented with ISAF awards medal   
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Improvements aplenty in Byte CII fleets   
America's Cup: New Zealand loses top coach to Artemis Racing   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Day 9 - Swish on record pace   
2014 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta - Day 3   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 2   
2014 IFDS World Championship: Opening Ceremony images   
Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery   
Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships   
Hamilton Island Race Week: Everywhere there's smiley people   
IFDS World Championships - US Paralympic hopefuls ready for racing   
Sopot Match Race - Poland's Tour debut deemed a triumph   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT