Navigation Links
Rise or fall of reef fish driven by both economy and ecology
Date:2/9/2009

Overfishing on coral reefs isn't simply caused by too many people, according to a new report published in the February 10th issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. Rather, the researchers found that the biomass of fish found on coral reefs in the western Indian Ocean depended mostly on the complexity of the reefs themselves and the socioeconomic status of the people living on the shores.

Specifically, they found, overfishing is at its worst in areas that have climbed only part way up the development ladder. In such locations, fish numbers were only one quarter what they were in places with either higher or lower levels of development.

Moderately developed places often had a few amenities, such as roads, schools, and electricity, but were generally considered poor by global standards, said Joshua Cinner of James Cook University in Australia. While people there tend to depend less on fishing, they also have more access to engine-powered boats, spear guns, and other technologies that can rapidly deplete some fish species. Those locations also tended to have fewer traditional village rules to limit fishing and national governments that are too weak to effectively enforce fishery regulations.

"In short, they have the technology to plunder their reefs, but not the institutions to protect them or the levels of development that allow for sufficient alternatives to fishing," Cinner said.

The findings suggest that the sustainability of coral reefs will depend in large part on whether developing countries can improve their well-being without falling into a poverty trap, he added. A poverty trap occurs when communities are forced to degrade the very resources they rely on due to a lack of alternatives for making ends meet.

"Those conditions can create a cycle of poverty and resource degradation, and the danger is that, if pushed too hard, reefs may lose their ability to bounce back when and if economic conditions improve," Cinner said. "For communities already in a poverty trap, governments and donors need to help them get out and couple this development with good governance and strong institutions."

Cinner noted that the current economic crisis can actually offer a "window of opportunity" for western governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and donors to restructure aid and conservation efforts to better tackle root causes of reef decline. While some coral reef conservation projects already do try to consider socioeconomic issues and provide people with alternatives to fishing, the new findings suggest that those efforts likely won't be enough, he added. "Reef fisheries don't seem to get better until very substantial improvements in human welfare have been made," he said.

The bottom line, he says: "While there are certainly some real challenges facing reefs, the path to their destruction is not inevitable. They can be sustained with the right combination of approaches, which includes promoting strategies such as fishery closures while at the same time tackling poverty as a root cause of the degradation of reefs and their fish stocks."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Female embryonic sexual development driven by universal factor
2. Newfound ancient African megadroughts may have driven the evolution of humans and fishes
3. Scientists fear rare dolphin driven to extinction by human activities
4. Evolution is driven by gene regulation
5. Nanoscale coating protect products -- and the economy
6. In Todays Economy, You Can Strengthen Your Company by Building Your Brand
7. Iowa State University conference examines developing bioeconomy
8. Herr receives Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment
9. Federal scientists recognized for contributions to knowledge of bird ecology and habitat
10. Smithsonian scientists receive coveted BBVA Ecology and Conservation Award
11. Lovejoy and Laurance, BBVA Foundation award in ecology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 with the ... The ... section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under "SEC Filings," ... 2016 Year Highlights: Acquisition of ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 According to a new market research ... Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and ... is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD ... 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... As Ebola resurfaces in the Democratic Republic of ... now reported, a new analysis of the Ebola gene polymerase ... the 2014 and 2017 outbreaks of the disease.  ... preceded the 2014 outbreak. An analysis of the latest data ... 2014-15, which again precedes the current outbreak in the DRC. ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... , ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey ... most troublesome and difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits ... 200 weed scientists across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Basel, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 ... ... for R&D, celebrates this month its 20th anniversary, marking the occasion with a ... is sponsoring the meeting’s Welcome Reception and further extends an invitation to all ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA (PRWEB) , ... May 22, ... ... SPIE Optics and Photonics 2017 in San Diego, California, this August ... virtual reality, solar fuels, and autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: