Reef pressure

Nicholas Polunin N.Polunin at
Wed Mar 5 04:15:36 EST 2003


For your info, my group has done a lot of work relating ecological
differences at the level of whole traditional Fijian fishing grounds to
a fishing pressure index. The index is simply the number of residents
per unit area or unit length of reef habitat. See for example the
references: (1) Jennings S, Polunin NVC 1996. Effects of fishing on the
biomass and structure of target reef fish communities. Journal of
Applied Ecology 33: 400-412 (2) Jennings S, Polunin NVC 1996. Fishery
development, fishing strategies and socioeconomics in Fijian qoliqoli.
Fisheries Management and Ecology 3: 335-347 (3) Jennings S, Polunin NVC
1997. Impacts of predator depletion by fishing on the biomass and
diversity of non-target reef fish communities. Coral Reefs 16: 71-82 (4)
Polunin NVC, Jennings S 1998. Differential effects of small-scale
fishing on predatory and prey fishes on Fijian reefs. pp 95-124 In: D.M.
Newbery, H.H.T. Prins & N. Brown (Eds) Dynamics of Tropical Communities,
Symposia of the British Ecological Society 37. Blackwell, Oxford. (5)
Jennings S, Reynolds JR, Polunin NVC 1999. Predicting the vulnerability
of tropical reef fishes to exploitation: an approach based on
phylogenies and life histories. Conservation Biology 13: 1466-1475 (6)
Dulvy NK, Mitchell RE, Watson D, Sweeting C, Polunin NVC 2002. Spatial
scale-dependent top-down control of mesoinvertebrates along a Fijian
fishing gradient. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
278: 1-29

In one case we have used fishing licences per unit of reef area. See:
Cooke A, Polunin NVC, Moce K 2000. Comparative assessment of stakeholder
management in traditional Fijian fishing-grounds. Environmental
Conservation 27: 291-299

The fishing index can be validated in terms of our previous work with
logbook surevys in some of the grounds. See: (1) Jennings S, Polunin NVC
1995. Comparative size and composition of yield from six Fijian reef
fisheries. Journal of Fish Biology 46: 28-46 (2) Jennings S, Polunin NVC
1995. Relationships between catch and effort in Fijian multispecies reef
fisheries subject to different levels of exploitation. Fisheries
Management and Ecology 2: 89-101 (3) Jennings S, Polunin NVC 1995.
Biased underwater visual census biomass estimates for target species in
tropical reef fisheries. Journal of Fish Biology 47: 733-736

Clearly this won't work everywhere, for example in locations where human
population density and/or reef arrea are related to other disturbing
factors such as fertilizer use and thus nutrient input to the sea.

Nick Polunin

Reader, Marine Science & Technology
Newcastle University
T +44 (0)191 222 6675 F - 7891
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