Communities that act locally to limit their fish catches will reap the rewards of their action, as will their neighbors. That's the conclusion of a study reported on March 28 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology of the highly sought-after fish known as squaretail coral grouper living in five community-owned reef systems in Papua New Guinea.
"We found that many larvae that were produced by the managed adults return to that same fish population, which means that the same fishers that agree to regulate their catch benefit from their actions," said Glenn Almany of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University. "Although we've been telling fishers for quite some time that they would benefit from protecting some of their adult fishes, we couldn't prove it because it was difficult to track where larvae end up."
Squaretail coral grouper are especially vulnerable to overfishing because they gather in large numbers to reproduce. Fishers know exactly when and where to go fishing. In order to track where young coral grouper produced by those aggregations end up, Almany and his colleagues applied genetic parentage analysis to adults from a single managed spawning aggregation and to juveniles in that tenure area and four others along a 75-kilometer stretch of coastline.
Within the primary area of the study, 17 to 25 percent of juveniles were produced by the focal aggregation, the researchers found. In the four neighboring tenure areas, 6 to 17 percent of juveniles were from the aggregation. The researchers predict from their data that half of all coral grouper young settle within 14 kilometers of the spawning site following their 25-day larval period.
"Over that time, they could certainly travel a lot farther," Almany said. "The fact that many don't was very surprising."
It also means that both local and cooperative management actions can provide fishery benefits to communities over small spatial scales, which should help to inspire local action, the researchers say.
"This study can empower coastal communities throughout the Coral Triangle—the area of greatest marine biodiversity—to make fishery management decisions that they can be confident will benefit them," Almany said.
The fish will be the better for it, too.
Cell Press: http://www.cellpress.com
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Juhan Sonin is donating his DNA to the hunt for medical breakthroughs. He explains why he decided to share his genome, and why you might want to do the same
The sperm of one nematode species harms the females of other species, perhaps explaining why the species remain distinct
Once-endangered gray seal population is rebounding; Cape Cod fishermen say there are now too many -- and they're taking all the fish
That strong, sturdy handshake your grandpa taught you isn't the cleanest way to greet someone, scientists say. So should doctors and nurses in hospitals start bumping fists?
The Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming may hold specimens of DNA from animals who roamed thousands of years ago. Julie Meachem, a paleontologist leading the expedition into the cave, speaks with Audie Cornish about the secrets she hopes to find.
Scientists are trying to raise prized bluefin tuna completely in captivity. An experiment at a Baltimore college is the first successful attempt in North America.
It’s five o’clock, and your dog is excitedly wagging her tail and nuzzling against you. Your furry friend is hungry and seems to know that this is the hour you usually feed her. But was this performance a simple reaction to a rumbling in Ginger’s tummy or are canines actually able to somehow read the clock?
Birds' eggs show adaptations in pigment concentration and thickness to allow the right amount of sun for embryos, scientists say.
Experiments with a large cannon have shown that fossilised algae could have travelled to the moon intact, providing an exciting window into Earth's past
A newly discovered variant of a protein that helps protect us against cancer may trigger cancer and promote its spread around the body