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.
For all but the shyest of wallflowers, moving to music is a natural human response. But what is it about a catchy tune that makes us groove? Scientists think they've figured out at least part of the recipe: just the right mix of regular rhythms and unexpected beats.
Artists' brains are structurally different to non-artists in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery, a study finds.
Information about who suspects call and when is helping police work out who is linked to which crimes and even their place in the criminal hierarchy
The lead scientist behind a revolutionary method to turn adult cells into stem cells has been found guilty of misconduct, but insists the mistakes were unintentional
A new study reveals that East African honeybees are resistant to the pathogens blamed for colony collapses elsewhere.
Chimpanzees choose tree branches that give them the most firm, stable, and comfortable place to sleep, a new study says.
You can forget about the birds and the bees. If you really want to learn how babies are made, you need to know about Juno and Izumo.
Video footage of the carnivorous sponges gives researchers insight into how they survive
Thermal imaging helps researchers uncover a 1,000-year-old village
Malnourished "Hoppie" is being nursed back to health after being found wandering in California's San Luis National Wildlife Refuge