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


This is my fifth visit to Navassa. I came for the first time in 2000 and was amazed at the clear water, large fish, and healthy corals. My susequent visits, at approximately 2 year intervals, have all held (mostly unpleasant) surprises. Because Navassa is so remote and our observations are so intermittent, a lot can happen that we are not able to observe directly. However, in 2004, we encountered a coral disease outbreak and greatly expanded fishing effort while in 2006, a coral mass-bleaching event was underway. On the good side, the threatened elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) population at Navassa was surprisingly robust and healthy in 2006 and the water was still spectacularly clear. I am nervous what surprises await us this trip. Hopefully at least some are good ones.

Margaret Miller

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