Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Commercially important reef fish surveys

Over the last few months, GVI had been working hard to assess different coral reef fish within and around the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Protected Area (KMMPA). We particularly want to assess the impact of fishing on specific commercially important species by looking at the presence and individual size of fish on different snorkel transect sites within the survey area.

Groupers are one family of commerically important fish

In recent years, fish stocks in this area seem to have been declining due to increased population pressure on the coast resources and increased tourism demands alongside the global problem of overfishing. GVI has found out that local fishermen have witnessed a decrease in individual fish size and in the amount of fish they are catching through interviews and measuring fish catches, so it is integral that we investigate this concern for future sustainability and conservation. A decreasing population of certain fish species can threaten both the biodiversity of important marine habitats and the livelihoods of the local communities.

Local fishermen have noticed a decline in catch

By conducting surveys on transect sites that lie within the Kisite marine park, where fishing is prohibited, and the marine reserve where fishing is limited and comparing it with data collected from unprotected areas, we hope to gain a better understanding of how the KMMPA is affecting the presence and size of Snappers (lutjanids), Groupers (serranidae), Emperors (serranidae) and Rabbitfish (siganidae). We hope the data collected will signify the necessity of marine reserves and encourage local people to support them and the positive impact such recruitment grounds can have on fish stocks.