Reef and Fishery Assessment of Navassa Island National Wildlife Refuge

On April 23, 2009 scientists from the NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami Florida (SEFSC) departed from San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. Their destination: the Navassa National Wildlife Refuge. Along with the NOAA scientists are researchers from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (UM/RSMAS), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Director of the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM), an NGO based in Haiti.
This work is funded by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fishery data collection

Unfortunately, we have not yet received any visits from Haitian fishermen at the island. However, it seems that fishers were here very recently, as we have come across a number of fish traps in transit to dive sites. We expect the fishers might come back in the near future to recover the traps they had deployed. In the absence of other fishery data collection, today we began taking CPUE (catch per unit effort) data for the traps by recording the species and size of fish inside each trap. We visited three traps this morning and were quite surprised to see the number and variety of fish that had been caught, including surgeonfishes, small groupers (grasbys and coneys), trunkfishes, and filefishes. Also surprising was the sheer size of the traps; these are transported on the fishers’ small boats all the way from mainland. The traps are weighted with rocks and are marked with a line attached to floating water bottles.

Tomorrow we will continue with the CPUE data collection for the other four traps that have been observed around the island. And of course, we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Haitian fishermen!

- Mandy

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