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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reef fish surveys

Over three hundred species of fish have been identified from Navassa waters, new species documented for the area from every cruise. Five fish counters (Jack Javech, Dave Gothan, Mike Judge, Joe Contillo, and Natalia Zurcher) will sample 75 sites, two to four samples per site, over eight days at Navassa. We are using the data to assess population changes and ecosystem responses to fishing by artisinal fishermen from Haiti. Declines in reef fish biomass seems to be occurring with less larger fishes seen every year. A range extension of the reef cave brotula Grammonus claudei, photographed by Keith Pamper (Shedd Aquariun) during the November 2006 expedition, was quite exciting. Also seen during 2006 was a 5 foot goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara, unexpected since there is no habitat around the island for juveniles. We are hoping to photo-document as many species as possible during our fish counts, and since our sampling method is non-destructive, we take pictures and leave the fish alive.

Dave McClellan

No comments:

Post a Comment