Coral Reef Parks Can Be Improved – Only Protecting 40 Percent Of Biomass Potential

Source: Phys.org/Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo: Milos Prelevic/Unsplash

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Marine scientists from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and other groups examining the ecological status of coral reefs across the Indian and Pacific oceans have uncovered an unsettling fact: even the best coral reef marine parks contain less than half of the fish biomass found in the most remote reefs that lie far from human settlements.

The study titled “Global baselines and benchmarks for : comparing remote reefs and fisheries closures” appears in the new edition of the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.

“Searching for healthy reef  communities to act as benchmarks required going far from shore to provide the ultimate control for human impacts. What we uncovered is that fishing has long-lasting seascape impacts, even when fishing has stopped in parks for decades,” said Dr. Tim McClanahan, WCS Senior Conservationist and lead author of the study.

The researchers gathered data from a number of reef fish studies conducted between 2005 and 2016 on nearly 1,000  to evaluate the effectiveness of remote reef baselines and nearshore benchmarks, management or access systems that are often used to evaluate the ecological status of marine ecosystems.

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Photo: Milos Prelevic/Unsplash

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