[Coral-List] American Samoa working towards improved management or coral reef fish populations.

Benjamin Carroll benjaminapolis at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 30 16:43:46 EDT 2007

Doug, I like the analogy. Something that should be fairly intuitive in places where (dive) tourism is of particular importance, although not always fully considered and on the other hand sometimes not such a simple scenario even where dive tourism does exist. But where dive tourism is not so important such an analogy doesn't always apply, as I'm sure you're well aware. Take our local example here in American Samoa where there is next to no tourism, and tourism certainly isn't of any importance. There is therefore no incentive to protect species to try and attract the tourism dollar. That is not to say, however, that the protection of species has to come from an entirely different angle. In what might be a lesson for managers in other areas the decision to protect several species of reef fish here was based solely on their local rarity and aided by the fact that some of these species are of particular ecological significance and rare elsewhere as well. For years different people, scientists and managers in American Samoa have had different opinions on coral reef fish, their population levels and the whole "overfishing" issue and have argued back and forth on such topics. And for years people were trying to use the "overfishing" argument to influence management. But because people never fully agreed and because the relevant historical data simply wasn't available to show what the status of reef fish populations was (and because fishing effort has actually been shown to be decreasing within the territory), nothing happened. But because we focussed simply on species rarity and not a seemingly pointless, no-win, futile argument a decision was finally actually made and a management action taken to protect certain species of reef fish and sharks. That's not to say that figuring out why certain species of reef fish are rare isn't important. Of course it is. But in the absence of such information that could guide management, it at least gives us a valid reasoning upon which to base current management decisions. And now we can work towards gaining such knowledge to further guide management and to also potentially improve regulations to include such things as bag limits, size restructions, seasonal closures etc.
And thank you Doug for compiling information to help back up all the solid ground-work that has been put in over the years by many different people working on coral reef fish and fisheries here in American Samoa.
Cheers. Ben.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ben Carroll Coral Reef Ecologist Dept Marine & Wildlife Resources PO Box 3730, Pago Pago, American Samoa, 96799. 
+ 684 633 4456 (wk)+ 684 699 7037 (hm)
+ 684 258 4774 (mob) + 684 633 5590 (fax)
“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” - Publilius Syrus
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> From: dfenner at blueskynet.as> To: M.Tupper at CGIAR.ORG; charlesb at hawaii.edu; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 20:01:24 -1100> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] American Samoa moving towards complete protectionof big fishes> > I congratulate the forward-looking leadership in Palau!! Well done!! > I hope that people in other places might start to consider the rarity of > their big fish and possible action. It appears that the big fish are > uncommon to rare on most reefs.> For places with dive tourism, one of the most exciting things for most > divers is seeing a really big fish. I always say, dead in the market it's > worth a pittance, alive on a reef it is made of solid gold if you have > divers you can charge to take to see it, and take more divers back day after > day, year after year. Why should we kill the goose that laid the golden > egg??? -Doug> > > ----- Original Message ----- > From: "Tupper, Mark (WorldFish)" <M.Tupper at CGIAR.ORG>> To: "Charles Birkeland" <charlesb at hawaii.edu>; > <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>> Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 1:57 PM> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] American Samoa moving towards complete > protectionof big fishes> > > > Dear Chuck and list,> >> > This is good to hear. Just thought I would add that in addition to reef> > sharks, last year Palau implemented a complete moratorium on fishing for> > humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and bumphead parrotfish> > (Bolbometopon muricatum). Initially the moratorium was to last 6 months,> > but so far the President has kept the moratorium in place until a> > thorough assessment of the status of these large, vulnerable reef fishes> > can be conducted.> >> > Mark Tupper> > Scientist - Coral Reefs> > ICLARM - The WorldFish Center> >> > > > _______________________________________________> Coral-List mailing list> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
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