NOAA research to protect Caribbean fish stocks

28 Feb 2013
Female spawning Red Hind Grouper. Photo: University of Puerto Rico/NOAA

Female spawning Red Hind Grouper. Photo: University of Puerto Rico/NOAA

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is funding research into where Caribbean fish gather and spawn in order to implement precise measures to protect depleted fish stocks.

The research is using the underwater sounds of reef fish, such as groupers, to identify areas where they gather to spawn - this is a behaviour that makes the fish easier to catch and susceptible to overfishing.

Scientists at the University of Puerto Rico, working with Caribbean resource managers, are conducting the current research in an effort to protect populations of commercially and recreationally important grouper, one of the most valuable fisheries in the region.

Richard Appeldoorn, Ph.D, director of the Caribbean Coral Reef Institute (CCRI), said: “This research is of keen interest to the Caribbean Fishery Management Council in its efforts to preserve and restore depleted fish stocks in the Caribbean.”

This research technique has high potential to aid not only in the protection and restoration of fish species in shallow water coral reef ecosystems. It is also being employed in NOAA-funded research at UPR on largely unexplored deeper water coral reef ecosystems, that includes species such as yellowfin and black grouper.

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