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Is gear-based management of herbivorous fish a viable tool to prevent or reverse phase shifts in coral reefs?: Linking resilience theory to practice
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Herbivorous reef fish are a key functional group for the ecological resilience of coral reefs. Asthey feed on algae, a major resource competitor of coral polyps, they can prevent and reversecoral-macroalgal phase shifts. The resilience of the reefs against such phase shifts is given bythe ability of herbivores to keep the system in a cropped state from filamentous algae or bytheir capacity to feed on macroalgae. Most of the management plans that aim to protect coralreefs have been focusing on the establishment of marine protected areas or no-take areas wherefishing activities are strictly restricted or prohibited. In low-income countries, such managedareas can be difficult to accept from a fisher´s perspective and lack of money also tends to leadto limited surveillance capabilities and lowered compliance. These challenges are important toaddress when managing small-scale fisheries and where fish are considered as both, amarketable commodity and a subsistence good.A perhaps less contentious strategy for fishers is gear-based management, where the use offishing gears that are detrimental to coral reef resilience are restricted and at the same timegears that do not compromise resilience are promoted. This study aims to investigate how ninedifferent fishing gears (i.e. different lines, traps, nets and spears) used in the coral reef fisheriesof Zanzibar (Tanzania) capture herbivorous reef fish that can prevent (preventers) or reverse(reversers) coral-macroalgal phase shifts. Two interesting findings emerged from the study.First, different fishing gears had different impacts on these two functional groups where lines,large traps and seine nets fisheries had most impacts. Second, there were monsoonaldifferences in the catch of preventers and reversers. These findings are discussed in relation toi) similar studies conducted in different reef environments and ii) the feasibility of gear-basedmanagement in Zanzibar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 76 p.
Keyword [en]
Coral reefs, resilience, gear-based management, herbivores, preventers and reversers, phase shifts, fisheries, Zanzibar
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-63417OAI: diva2:448790
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-10-18 Created: 2011-10-18 Last updated: 2011-10-18Bibliographically approved

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