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Planning a Tropical Vacation Getaway? Don’t Eat the Reef Fish!

Source: Phys.org/University of British Columbia - September 22, 2017 in Politics

Planning a Tropical Vacation Getaway? Don’t Eat the Reef Fish!
Photo: LuxTonnerre/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Reducing tourist consumption of reef fish is critical for Palau’s ocean sustainability, finds a new UBC study that suggests other small island nations might also consider adopting this strategy.

Climate change is expected to lead to sharp declines in Palau’s reefs, and this new research suggests that the best tourism management strategy includes a more than 70 per cent reduction in the amount of  eaten by visitors. These findings are relevant for sustainable development for other small island developing states that are likely to feel a significant impact from changes to the ocean.

“Palau’s reefs and the  communities they host are incredibly beautiful and recognized worldwide as a top diving destination,” says lead author Colette Wabnitz, research associate with the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. “Tourist numbers can reach nine times the local population and most come to enjoy the ocean. This puts enormous pressure on local marine resources that are central to local communities’ culture, food security and livelihoods.”

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