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A preliminary market-based analysis of the Pohnpei, Micronesia, grouper (Serranidae: Epinephelinae) fishery reveals unsustainable fishing practices

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Serranids are important components of artisanal and commercial catch worldwide, but are highly susceptible to overfishing. In Pohnpei (Micronesia), a recent coral reef fish market survey revealed a reliance on night-time spearfishing and a serranid catch composed primarily of juveniles and small adults of practically all epinepheline species. Fishing effort was concentrated in one of five municipalities and was disproportionate to the population distribution. Lagoon areas were fished preferentially to outer reef areas, with both catch size distribution and species composition similar between the two areas. Some species were unique to a particular gear type, but catch composition did not vary substantially between spear and line fishing. Existing seasonal sales bans, meant to protect reproductively active serranids, appeared to place additional pressure on other families during ban periods. The study identified the need for a comprehensive management plan that merges traditional measures, including size limits and gear restrictions, with precautionary management tools. Specifically, the scale and scope of marine protected areas should be increased to protect juveniles and other life history stages over wider areas than currently employed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume26
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2007
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007

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