Tag: coral reef

From Theory to Practice: Managing Coral Reefs for Resilience

Scientists and reef managers agree: the key to successful reef management is resilience. But how do you manage for resilient corals? It was hard to know. Until now.

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The Klepto-Octopus and Other Adventures in Coral Reef Restoration

A thieving octopus? Dolphin volunteers? Welcome to the unexpected cast of characters encountered during coral reef restoration.

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Coral Reefs Soften Ocean’s Fury for Millions of Coastal Dwellers

Coral reefs harbor great diversity and absorb an amazing 97% of the energy from incoming waves. Restoration is < 1/10th the cost of building more breakwaters.

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Reef Resilience Toolkit: New Tools Build Resilience into Coral Reef Management

Large amounts of data are available for coral reef conservationists. The problem is that many reef managers don’t have the time to access said data. Enter the Reef Resilience Toolkit.

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Marine Fisheries: Does Local Protection Mean Local Benefits?

If a community protects a portion of its fishing grounds, will it actually benefit them?

Or will the young fish produced in protected areas just move hundreds of miles away and benefit communities that played no role in protecting the resource?

These questions were the focus of researchers working in Manus, Papua New Guinea who investigated whether community protection efforts for the squaretail coral grouper (Plectropomus areolatus) actually benefited the community by providing more fish.

Their results, published today in the journal Current Biology, clearly show that local management of this species provides local benefits.

“For years, we’ve been preaching that community-based conservation is a key component to protecting reef fisheries,” says Rick Hamilton, senior scientist for the Conservancy’s Melanesia program and one of the coauthors of the paper. “The idea has been that if we protect some areas, large female fishes will be left undisturbed. They would then produce millions of larvae that spill over into nearby areas open to fishing. But until now that assumption has largely been faith based.”

In Manus, as in many parts of the world, people essentially own the coral reefs near their village. They decide when, where and who can fish in these areas. Some of these areas have no formal designation, but fishers know these customary boundaries. Local communities can thus enact and enforce management and protection efforts.

One of the most important fishes for commercial and subsistence harvest for Manus communities is the squaretail coral grouper. It is also highly susceptible to overfishing. This is in part due to the fact that they form spawning aggregations, where huge numbers of fish congregate in one spot to spawn at predictable times. This makes it easy to overharvest the reproductive population. At night, the aggregating coral grouper sleep in shallow water, making them easy targets for spear fishers.

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Fishing, Conservation and Marine Protected Areas: Let’s Work Together

I have a confession to make: I’m a marine scientist who thinks marine protected areas (MPAs) aren’t going to be nearly enough to save our oceans, and that fishing needs to be part of the solution too.

Here’s why: As a conservationist, I’ve seen how MPAs can protect habitat and allow fish populations to flourish, but I’ve also seen how effective fisheries management can balance economic needs with those of a healthy ocean. Within the next generation the global population will reach 9 billion, and it’s our shared challenge to implement the next generation of ocean management techniques to allow us to restore and maintain our oceans against this ever-rising wall of pressure.

That means working together.

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Indonesia’s First Shark Sanctuary – Raja Ampat Leads the Way

This week has without a doubt been the highlight of my career as a marine conservationist. And, as someone who has had a long-term love affair with the world’s oceans, it’s been a life highlight as well.

On 20 February 2013, the Raja Ampat government officially announced that it has declared its entire 4 million hectares of coastal and marine waters a shark sanctuary.

This means that all harvesting of sharks is now prohibited in its waters. In addition, the sanctuary also gives full protection to a number ecologically and economically important ocean species, such as manta rays, dugongs, whales, turtles, dolphins and ornamental fish species.

Why is this important and why should we care?

Well, sharks have a really hard time in our oceans. Beyond the often over-amplified fear people have of sharks, they are also targeted for their high-priced fins or are caught accidently in fishing nets.

It is estimated that at least 26-73 million sharks are killed each year globally, mostly for their fins. Shark finning is one of the cruelest practices around—it involves throwing a still-breathing shark overboard with its fins cut off and its body bleeding into the water.

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Salmon Cam Returns

We’re pleased to return Salmon Cam, a live view of spawning Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

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