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Biomass-based targets and the management of multispecies coral reef fisheries

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Conservation Biology
Issue number2
Volume29
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)409-417
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date11/12/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The failure of fisheries management among multispecies coral reef fisheries is well documented and has dire implications for the 100 million people engaged in these small-scale operations. Weak or missing management institutions, a lack of research capacity, and the complex nature of these ecosystems have heralded a call for ecosystem-based management approaches. However, ecosystem-based management of coral reef fisheries has proved challenging due to the multispecies nature of catches and the diversity of fish functional roles. We used data on fish communities collected from 233 individual sites in 9 western Indian Ocean countries to evaluate changes in the site's functional composition and associated life-history characteristics along a large range of fish biomass. As biomass increased along this range, fish were larger and grew and matured more slowly while the abundance of scraping and predatory species increased. The greatest changes in functional composition occurred below relatively low standing stock biomass (