Humphead Wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 11251794
The Great Sea Reef (GSR) is the longest and most complex reef system in Fiji and the third longest continuous barrier reef in the world. The reef system envelops the island of Kia (2km2) where our research site is based. The GSR is part of the Fiji Island Marine Ecoregion, an area considered to be of global biological significance for conservation (WWF 2001) and is a conservation site under the umbrella of the Macuata conservation network - Siga Damu a Vanua (an ancient Fijian war cry).
Spawning aggregations of reef fishes are among the most remarkable biological phenomena found in shallow waters. However, aggregations are predictable in space and time and therefore provide an opportunity for local fishers to easily catch large numbers of reproductively active fish, endangering the future sustainability of coral reef fisheries. Therefore, the identification and competent management of aggregation sites is critical to the protection of fish stocks and the livelihoods of coastal communities. Until recently, there has been inadequate awareness of the problem of aggregation exploitation and there is still a very active "discovery component" to work on spawning aggregations. Over-fishing has already depleted a substantial number of reproductive gatherings in the Caribbean and considerable anecdotal evidence suggests that spawning aggregations are systematically being depleted in the Indo-Pacific region.
Through this work, we aim to:
- determine the spatial and temporal distribution of reef fish spawning aggregations on the Great Sea Reef using a multi-disciplinary approach
- document traditional ecological knowledge on reef fish spawning aggregations
- provide local communities with the skills required to successfully protect spawning aggregations and thereby manage their fishery resources in a more sustainable manner
- promote awareness of the importance of the protection of spawning aggregation sites for the long-term sustainability of local fisheries using the Humphead Wrasse as flagship species;
- train local communities in basic survey techniques to gather data for fisheries management and develop monitoring and management plans.
For further information - www.c-3.org.uk
Project 11251794 location - Fiji, Oceania