Information sought on reef fish spawning aggregations

Mark Tupper mtupper at
Fri Sep 20 20:43:46 EDT 2002

Greetings Andy, John, and listers

"John Naughton"  wrote:
>There are a number of these very important grouper >spawning channels
in Palau, particularly in the >western barrier reef.  I'm somewhat
>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.

The Marine Protected Areas Research Group (based at U. of Guam) will be
leading a NOAA-funded project to test indicators of MPA management
effectiveness in Guam, Palau, and the CNMI.  Our test sites include a
couple of MPAs on the western barrier reef of Palau.  The study will
include data collection on focal species (including grouper) abundance
and location/timing of spawning aggregations in MPAs and adjacent fished
 sites.  In the meantime, Pat Colin of the Coral Reef Research
Foundation is the person to talk to regarding reef fish spawning in

One last comment on John's post.  I would not necessarily count on MPAs
as the single most appropriate tool for conserving grouper spawning
aggregations.  Several Pacific islands have implemented seasonal
commercial trade bans on groupers and other aggregating species.  These
bans make it illegal to buy or sell grouper during the spawning season,
which makes fishing aggregations much less attractive to fishermen from
an economic standpoint.

In my opinion, a combination of MPAs and seasonal trade bans (which are
currently used in Palau and Kosrare) might be the best way to conserve
aggregations - or at least better than MPAs alone.


PS: Andy, contact me directly for info on grouper spawning aggregations
in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

Dr. Mark H Tupper, Assistant Professor
University of Guam Marine Laboratory
UOG Station, Mangilao, Guam 96923
tel. 671-735-2185; fax 671-734-6767

Coordinator, Marine Protected Areas Research Group

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