Fiji Fishing Fundraiser Breaks the Coral Reef “Bank”
Source: Wildlife Conservation Society
March 23, 2012
"A protected coral reef in Fiji briefly opened for an intensive five-week fishing season was largely depleted of its fish populations and has been slow to recover, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
In the first study of its kind, conservationists with WCS's Marine Program examined the environmental impact of an intensive fishing event-conducted by three villages in 2008 to pay for both school and church fees and provincial levies-on a formerly protected reef system.
The study appears in the recent online version of the journal Coral Reefs. The authors include: Stacy Jupiter, D.P. Egli, and A. Cakacaka of the Wildlife Conservation Society; R. Weeks of James Cook University and WCS; and A.P. Jenkins of Wetlands International.
Predictably, the research team found that the reef's populations of large-bodied, commercially valuable species (surgeonfish, parrotfish, snapper, grouper, etc.) were severely depleted during the harvest, which lasted for five weeks, and some species were fished out entirely (the target of 12,000 Fiji dollars was achieved in the first day, but the fishing continued). Other species, the team speculated, may have simply fled to an adjacent reef outside of the fishing area. "
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