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Study finds fisheries management makes coral reefs grow faster
Date:1/14/2011

hile these 'grazing' fish did measurably impact the growth rates of coralline algae in reef systems, they also removed fleshy algae that compete with coralline algae. Overall, reefs with more sea urchins grew significantly slower than ones with more complete fish communities.

The authors also found that the grazing effect was stronger and more persistent than the strong El Nio that devastated coral reefs throughout the tropics in 1998 (the study extended from 1987 until 2005). The study shows that managing coral reef fisheries can affect coral reef growth and improving the management of tropical fisheries can help these reefs to grow and persist in a changing climate.

"The survival of coral reefs is critical for hundreds of millions of people who depend on these complex systems for coastal protection, food, and tourism revenue around the globe," said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of WCS's Marine Program. "This study demonstrates the importance of improving fisheries management on reefs so that corals can thrive, safeguarding some of the world's most fragile marine biodiversity and strengthening coastal economies."


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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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