Looking To Better Manage Reefs

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Looking to better manage reefs
25th August 2017

By Sandra Pearce

A Dartmouth study of spearfishing on a Caribbean coral reef illustrates how understanding the process of fishing can help in developing management strategies  to address overfishing and coral  reef protection worldwide. The findings are published in PLOS ONE.

Parrotfish are a staple in the Dominican Republic, but they also play a vital role in the health of coral reefs as they eat macro-algae that compete with coral, and help prevent algae from overgrowing.

 Using cameras mounted on to spearguns, researchers investigated the differences between fishers who free dive (less than 10 metres deep), and those using compressed air (between 10 and 35 metres deep).

Compressor divers caught each fish more efficiently, and caught 69% of the fish that they targeted, or 28% more than freedivers.

Last month, the Dominican Republic government issued a two-year ban on the capture of parrotfish.