Volume 72

Trends on reef fish populations inside and outside no take zones after 10 years in Sosua bay, Dominican Republic

Rodriguez, M.
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Date: November, 2019

Pages: 369

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Caribbean reefs have been subjected to a wide array of consequences from human population overgrowth since last century, including the severe deterioration of the ecological processes that rule the delicate dynamics of coral reefs. Overfishing, water quality deterioration due to land-based and coastal pollution and climate change are among the causes. In the case of the Caribbean reefs, over-fishing has led to a tremendous reduction of fish biomass and diversity, which results in increased stressors over corals, including an increase of corallivory and disease sources, macroalgae biomass and eroding sponges, and the decrease of key elements for reef health such as the nutrients and beneficial bacteria coming from fish wastes normally present on healthy populated reef. In order to plan reef ecological restoration and fisheries management it is important to understand the trends and dynamics of keystone species in no-take areas previously impacted by over-fishing. During November 2009, October 2013, October 2016, and early November 2018, two 50 x 2.5m transects were placed on three protected reefs and three non protected reefs of Sosua Bay northern Dominican Republic, in order to study the relative abundance of adult and semi-adult individuals using ReefCheck indicator species as well as any other species larger than 10cm within protected and non protected areas. The total of the species observed around 2.5 meters from each side of the transect was recorded, specifically those individuals bigger than 10cm. This study highlights an important change over time in the species composition of Sosua reef fish community as well as a gradual increase in biomass inside strict non take zones, while no significant change was observed in open fishing zones. The results can contribute to the management of marine areas.

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