Modeling reef fish biomass, recovery potential, and management priorities in the western Indian Ocean

McClanahan, Timothy R., Maina, Joseph M., Graham, Nicholas A. J. and Jones, Kendall R. (2016) Modeling reef fish biomass, recovery potential, and management priorities in the western Indian Ocean. PLoS One, 11 5: e0154585.1-e0154585.21. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0154585

Author McClanahan, Timothy R.
Maina, Joseph M.
Graham, Nicholas A. J.
Jones, Kendall R.
Title Modeling reef fish biomass, recovery potential, and management priorities in the western Indian Ocean
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2016-05-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0154585
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 11
Issue 5
Start page e0154585.1
End page e0154585.21
Total pages 21
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Fish biomass is a primary driver of coral reef ecosystem services and has high sensitivity to human disturbances, particularly fishing. Estimates of fish biomass, their spatial distribution, and recovery potential are important for evaluating reef status and crucial for setting management targets. Here we modeled fish biomass estimates across all reefs of the western Indian Ocean using key variables that predicted the empirical data collected from 337 sites. These variables were used to create biomass and recovery time maps to prioritize spatially explicit conservation actions. The resultant fish biomass map showed high variability ranging from ~15 to 2900 kg/ha, primarily driven by human populations, distance to markets, and fisheries management restrictions. Lastly, we assembled data based on the age of fisheries closures and showed that biomass takes ~ 25 years to recover to typical equilibrium values of ~1200 kg/ha. The recovery times to biomass levels for sustainable fishing yields, maximum diversity, and ecosystem stability or conservation targets once fishing is suspended was modeled to estimate temporal costs of restrictions. The mean time to recovery for the whole region to the conservation target was 8.1(± 3SD) years, while recovery to sustainable fishing thresholds was between 0.5 and 4 years, but with high spatial variation. Recovery prioritization scenario models included one where local governance prioritized recovery of degraded reefs and two that prioritized minimizing recovery time, where countries either operated independently or collaborated. The regional collaboration scenario selected remote areas for conservation with uneven national responsibilities and spatial coverage, which could undermine collaboration. There is the potential to achieve sustainable fisheries within a decade by promoting these pathways according to their social-ecological suitability.
Keyword Coral reef fisheries
Fisheries management
Biodiversity Conservation
Coral reef ecology
Western Indian Ocean
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Fri, 13 May 2016, 21:44:54 EST by Kendall Jones on behalf of School of Geography, Planning & Env Management