Information sought on reef fish spawning aggregations

John Naughton John.Naughton at
Fri Sep 20 13:54:30 EDT 2002


NMFS/NOAA has been involved recently in the environmental aspects of a
large road project being built in Palau under treaty between the U.S. and
the Republic of Palau.
Because of some potentially substantial impacts on marine systems (i.e.,
dredging for road aggregate, causeway construction), we have developed a
compensatory mitigation package for the project, including the
establishment of the 30,000 acre Ngaremeduu Conservation Area.  One of
the major reasons for designating this particular marine protected area
(including a huge mangrove embayment, lagoon patch reefs, and large
section of barrier reef) off the west coast of Palau, is that it includes
a major grouper spawning channel through the barrier reef.

There are a number of these very important grouper spawning channels in
Palau, particularly in the western barrier reef.  I'm somewhat hesitant
to name the ones known to me (for obvious reasons) without the permission
of appropriate people in Palau. Hopefully, via this e-mail to the list,
someone in Palau can respond to you directly with this important
information.  Protection of these channels in Palau and elsewhere is
critical.  Well enforced MPAs, in my opinion, is the most appropriate
tool for insuring this protection.

Aloha,          John

John Naughton
Pacific Islands Environmental Coordinator
National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA
Honolulu, Hawaii

andy cornish wrote:

> Dear All,
> The Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish
> Aggregations (SCRFA) would like to enlist the help of
> coral reef researchers in collating information on
> spawning aggregations.
> Many reef fishes aggregate in large numbers at
> specific times and places to reproduce, particularly
> on the outer reef edge or reef passes.  Some sites may
> be used by many species, either simultaneously or at
> different times of day, month or year. Once they have
> been discovered, their predictable nature makes them
> extremely vulnerable to overexploitation. Overfishing
> has already depleted a substantial number of such
> reproductive gatherings in the Caribbean and
> considerable anecdotal evidence also suggests that
> many spawning aggregations of groupers are
> systematically being destroyed by the live reef food
> fish trade, especially in Indonesia and the western
> Pacific.
> SCRFA strives to promote and facilitate the
> international conservation and management of reef fish
> spawning aggregations and has initiated a global
> database to document aggregation history and status
> throughout the tropics to facilitate sound
> science-based development of appropriate
> fishery-specific management and conservation and to
> provide supporting information to stakeholders.
> However, spawning aggregation sites are often poorly
> documented and we are lacking information from many
> areas of the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Caribbean.
> We would like to hear from you if you aware of
> aggregations that have not been reported in the
> published literature, whether you know personally of
> such sites, or are aware of grey literature that may
> have contain relevant information. Also if you have
> conducted recent assessments of aggregations
> previously reported. Those contributing can be assured
> that the precise locations of spawning sites will not
> be released, unless there is specific reason to do so
> and after consultation with both the SCRFA Board and
> the contributor, to avoid the possible abuse of this
> information.
> Apologies for the cross posting and thanks,
> Andy Cornish
> =====
> Andy Cornish Ph.D,
> Teaching Consultant,
> Department of Ecology & Biodiversity,
> The University of Hong Kong,
> Pokfulam Rd., Hong Kong
> __________________________________________________
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