Coastal Fisheries Programme

Number 16 - December 2006

Editor and Group Coordinator: Tom Graham, PO Box 235, Honolulu, HI 96809 USA. Phone/fax: +1 (808) 625 8755

Production: Information Section, Marine Resources Division, SPC, PO BOX D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia Fax (687) 263818)

Prepared with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

From the Editor

The following articles read like an atlas of live reef food fisheries, with news from the Indian Ocean and from both sides of the Pacific.

Seychelles: Reporting from the western Indian Ocean, on what was once the edge of the range of the Hong Kong-centred live reef food fish trade, Riaz Aumeeruddy and Jan Robinson describe Seychelles’ experience with the trade from 1998–1999. The results of a two-year fishing trial, along with reports of problems in other countries engaged in the trade, led the government to determine that the fishery was not in the best interests of the country, and in 2005, fishing for finfish for the live fish trade was formally prohibited.

United States: Halfway around the world from Seychelles, in California, Scot Lucas provides an update of the US west coast fisheries for live reef food fish. The fisheries do not supply the distant markets of Asia and do not catch the same tropical species or use the same methods as the fisheries in the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, but the challenges faced by fishery managers in all these areas appear to be largely the same.

Papua New Guinea: Richard Hamilton and Manuai Matawai describe the recent development of a fishery for live groupers at the island of Manus, and identify what appears to be a strong relationship between the extraction of fish and the decline of fish numbers at a spawning aggregation site. Their description of the open-close-open pattern of fishery development sounds very familiar.

Australia: In contrast with the often boom-and-bust nature of fisheries for live food fish in much of the Indo-Pacific region, the fishery on the Great Barrier Reef, which predominantly harvests the leopard coralgrouper, has been fairly stable. Martin Russell describes the recent radical makeover of the GBR’s fishery management regime, which now includes large areas closed to fishing, limits on total allowable catches, size limits, recreational bag limits and spawning season closures. Based on fish counts at two spawning aggregation sites that have been monitored for 15 years, he tentatively examines the effects of those management changes on fish stocks.

Fiji: Yvonne Sadovy describes field work undertaken to validate information on spawning aggregations provided through interviews with fishers. Ledua Ovasisi recounts the history of Fiji’s involvement in the live reef food fish trade and identifies the challenges facing fishery managers. Yvonne Sadovy and Aisake Batibasaga summarize the deliberations at a recent workshop in Suva aimed at improving the management of the country’s reef fish fisheries.

Pacific Islands: Based on case studies in four Pacific Island countries, Mecki Kronen and coauthors examine the social and economic aspects of artisanal reef fish fisheries and explore the relative advantages of alternative paths of commercial fishery development, particularly the option of engaging in the live reef food fish trade.

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Closure of the live reef food fish fishery in Seychelles
Aumeeruddy R., Robinson J. (pdf: 358 KB)
Leopard coralgrouper (Plectropomus leopardus) management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia
Russell M. (pdf: 212 KB)
Live reef food fish trade causes rapid declines in abundance of squaretail coralgrouper (Plectropomus areolatus) at a spawning aggregation site in Manus, Papua New Guinea
Hamilton R.J., Matawai M. (pdf: 266 KB)
History and status of commercial live fish fisheries in California and the United States West Coast
Lucas S. (pdf: 251 KB)
Validating camouflage grouper, Epinephelus polyphekadion, spawning aggregations: A preliminary study from Fiji fisher interviews
Sadovy Y. (pdf: 214 KB)
The live reef food fish trade in Fiji
Ovasisi L. (pdf: 241 KB)
A socioeconomic perspective on the live reef fish food trade for small-scale artisanal fishers based on case studies from the Pacific
Kronen M., Sauni S., Sauni L.F., Vunisea A. (pdf: 234 KB)
Reef fishery workshop held in Fiji
Sadovy Y., Batibasaga A. (pdf: 260 KB)

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The views expressed in this Bulletin are those of the authors and are not necessarily
shared by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community


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