artificial reefs vs. coral reefs

dfenner at dfenner at
Thu Feb 7 18:45:57 EST 2002

    Yes, there was a reef sites article in Coral Reefs a few years back by
Callum Roberts on a reef in Belize- highest density of fish ever recorded on
a reef- it was a reserve, but also a small reef area in a large area of sand
if I remember.  I've seen a small reef along a sandy shore in the
Philippines which was just crawling with fish.  A small reef in a sea of
sand is essentially what fishermen call a "fish-attracting device", as is an
artificial reef in a similar situation.  I'd suggest quantifiying the fish
abundance.  The problem will come when the fishermen find it.  Then they can
take the fish, and the artificial reef becomes a fish attracting device
(FAD) that just helps the fishermen deplete the fish stocks further, as once
they have fished it out, more fish will come in and be fished out, etc.  The
huge heavy "reef balls" can snare nets and keep fishermen using nets out,
but those using traps, hook & line, etc can still readily fish them.  One
solution might be to!
 declare the artificial reef area a reserve, but only if it can be enforced.
And best not to do that if the fishermen don't know where it is- that would
just advertise its location.
    Hope it goes well!  -Doug Fenner, Australian Institute of Marine
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