Parrotfish size as a useful indicator of fishing effects in a small Caribbean island

Abstract

There is an urgent need to develop simple indicators of fishing effects for the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Caribbean. In this study, we compare the ability of three simple metrics (average individual fish weight, fish density, and fish biomass) derived from the parrotfish assemblage and from an assemblage of highly valued commercial fish species to track changes in fishing pressure at spatial scales relevant to small Caribbean islands. Between June and August 2011, we conducted five consecutive visual fish surveys at six reefs ≤10 km apart along the west coast of Barbados, representing a spatial gradient in fishing pressure. We used these data to identify the fish metrics most strongly correlated with fishing pressure and describe their functional relationship with fishing pressure. Overall, average individual parrotfish weight and biomass and density of commercial fish species were the metrics most strongly correlated with fishing pressure, although for the latter two, such correlations depended on the range of fish body sizes analyzed. Fishing pressure accounted for most of the variability in all correlated fish metrics (adj R 2 ≥ 0.75). However, functional relationships with fishing pressure differed qualitatively between metrics. In particular, average individual parrotfish weight was the metric most sensitive to incremental changes in fishing pressure. Overall, our study highlights that assemblage-level average individual parrotfish weight deserves a place in the toolbox of Caribbean reef managers as a simple indicator of both fishing effects on parrotfish assemblages and overall fishing pressure on the reef fish community.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. Appeldoorn RS (2011a) Can we stop the madness? Managing for resilience in coral reef fisheries. Proceedings of the 63rd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, San Juan, Puerto Rico, p 6–9

  2. Appeldoorn RS (2011b) Reef resources, the “fog of fisheries” and EBM. In: Fanning L, Mahon R, McConney P (eds) Towards marine ecosystem-based management in the wider Caribbean. Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, pp 147–156

    Google Scholar 

  3. Babcock RC, Kelly S, Shears NT, Walker JW, Willis TJ (1999) Changes in community structure in temperate marine reserves. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 189:125–134

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bonaldo RM, Hoey AS, Bellwood DR (2014) The ecosystem roles of parrotfishes on tropical reefs. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 52:81–132

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bruggemann JH, Kuyper MWM, Breeman AM (1994) Comparative analysis of foraging and habitat use by the sympatric Caribbean parrotfish Scarus vetula and Sparisoma viride (Scaridae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 112:51–66

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Burke L, Reytar K, Spalding M, Perry A (2011) Reef at risk revisited. World Resource Institute, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  7. Clua E, Legendre P (2008) Shifting dominance among Scarid species on reefs representing a gradient of fishing pressure. Aquat Living Resour 21:339–348

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. DECR (2011) Capture of parrotfish banned to protect coral reefs. Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR), Turks and Caicos

  9. Dulvy NK, Freckleton RP, Polunin NVC (2004) Coral reef cascades and the indirect effects of predator removal by exploitation. Ecol Lett 7:410–416

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Dunn DC, Stewart K, Bjorkland RH, Haughton M, Singh-Renton S, Lewison R, Thorne L, Halpin PN (2010) A regional analysis of coastal and domestic fishing effort in the wider Caribbean. Fish Res 102:60–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Division Fisheries (2004) Barbados fisheries management plan 2004—2006: schemes for the management of fisheries in the waters of Barbados. Government of Barbados, Fisheries Division, p 67

    Google Scholar 

  12. Gill D (2014) The economic value of reef fishes to the fishing and dive tourism industries in the Caribbean. Ph.D. thesis, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, pp 239

  13. Gotanda KM, Turgeon K, Kramer DL (2009) Body size and reserve protection affect flight initiation distance in parrotfishes. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 63:1563–1572

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Gust N, Choat JH, McCormick MI (2001) Spatial variability in reef fish distribution, abundance, size and biomass: a multi-scale analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 214:237–251

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Haedrich RL, Barnes SM (1997) Changes over time of the size structure in an exploited shelf fish community. Fish Res 31:229–239

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Hall SJ, Mainprize B (2004) Towards ecosystem-based fisheries management. Fish Fish 5:1–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hawkins JP, Roberts CM (2003) Effects of fishing on sex-changing Caribbean parrotfishes. Biol Conserv 115:213–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hawkins JP, Roberts CM (2004) Effects of artisanal fishing on Caribbean coral reefs. Conserv Biol 18:215–226

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. ICRI (2013) Recommendation on addressing the decline in coral reef health throughout the wider Caribbean: the taking of parrotfish and similar herbivores. Adopted at 28th General Meeting of the International Coral Reef Initiative. International Coral Reef Initiative, Belize

  20. Jackson JBC, Donovan MK, Cramer KL, Lam W (2014) Status and trends of Caribbean coral reefs: 1970-2012. Switzerland, Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, IUCN, Gland, p 306

    Google Scholar 

  21. Jennings S (2005) Indicators to support an ecosystem approach to fisheries. Fish Fish 6:212–232

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Jennings S, Reynolds JD, Mills SC (1998) Life history correlates of responses to fisheries exploitation. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 265:333–339

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Jennings S, Greenstreet SPR, Reynolds JD (1999) Structural change in an exploited fish community: a consequence of differential fishing effects on species with constrasting life histories. J Anim Ecol 68:617–627

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kennedy EV, Perry CT, Halloran PR, Iglesias-Prieto R, Schonberg CH, Wisshak M, Form AU, Carricart-Ganivet JP, Fine M, Eakin CM, Mumby PJ (2013) Avoiding coral reef functional collapse requires local and global action. Curr Biol 23:912–918

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Mahon R (1997) Does fisheries science serve the needs of managers of small stocks in developing countries? Can J Fish Aquat Sci 54:2207–2213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. McAfee ST, Morgan SG (1996) Resource use by five sympatric parrotfishes in the San Blas Archipelago, Panama. Mar Biol 125:427–437

    Google Scholar 

  27. Miller J, Beets J, Rogers C (2001) Temporal patterns of fish recruitment on a fringing coral reef in Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. US Virgin Islands. Bull Mar Sci 69:567–577

    Google Scholar 

  28. Mumby PJ, Steneck RS (2008) Coral reef management and conservation in light of rapidly evolving ecological paradigms. Trends Ecol Evol 23:555–563

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Mumby PJ, Harborne AR (2010) Marine reserves enhance the recovery of corals on Caribbean reefs. PLoS One 5:e8657

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mumby PJ, Hastings A, Edwards HJ (2007) Thresholds and the resilience of Caribbean coral reefs. Nature 450:98–101

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Munro JL (1983) Caribbean coral reef fishery resources. ICLARM Studies and Reviews 7. International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management, Manila, Philippines

  32. Newton K, Cote IM, Pilling GM, Jennings S, Dulvy NK (2007) Current and future sustainability of island coral reef fisheries. Curr Biol 17:655–658

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Passley D, Aiken K, Perry G-A (2010) Characterization of the Jamaican spearfishing sector. Proceedings of the 63rd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute, Cumana, Venezuela, p 235–240

  34. Perry CT, Murphy GN, Kench PS, Smithers SG, Edinger EN, Steneck RS, Mumby PJ (2013) Caribbean-wide decline in carbonate production threatens coral reef growth. Nat Commun 4:1402

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Piet GJ, Jennings S (2005) Response of potential fish community indicators to fishing. ICES J Mar Sci 62:214–225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Pinheiro J, Bates D, DebRoy S, Sarkar D, Team RDC (2010) nlme: Linear and Nonlinear Mixed Effects Models. R package version 3.1-97

  37. R Development Core team (2010) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing Vienna, Austria

  38. Rakitin A, Kramer DL (1996) Effect of a marine reserve on the distribution of coral reef fishes in Barbados. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 131:97–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Rice J, Rochet M (2005) A framework for selecting a suite of indicators for fisheries management. ICES J Mar Sci 62:516–527

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Robertson DR, Van Tassell J (2012) Fishes: Greater Caribbean. A guide to the shorefishes of the Caribbean & adjacent areas. Version 1.0. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

  41. Schuhmann PW, Oxenford HA, Gill D, Staskiewicz T (2011) Landings, costs, net profit and return on investment in two contrasting fisheries. Part 2: The nearshore trap fishery. Fisheries Division, Government of Barbados, Barbados, pp 45

  42. Shulman MJ, Ogden JC (1987) What controls tropical reef fish populations - recruitment or benthic mortality - an example in the Caribbean reef fish Haemulon flavolineatum. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 39:233–242

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Steneck RS, Arnold SN, Mumby PJ (2014) Experiment mimics fishing on parrotfish: insights on coral reef recovery and alternative attractors. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 506:115–127

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Vallès H, Oxenford HA (2014) Parrotfish size: a simple yet useful alternative indicator of fishing effects on Caribbean reefs? PLoS One 9(1):e86291

    PubMed Central  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Vallès H, Hunte W, Kramer DL (2009) Variable temporal relationships between environment and recruitment in coral reef fishes. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 379:225–240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Ye YM, Cochrane K, Qiu YS (2011) Using ecological indicators in the context of an ecosystem approach to fisheries for data-limited fisheries. Fish Res 112:108–116

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Walker NJ, Saveliev AA, Smith GM (2009) Mixed effects models and extensions in ecology with R. Springer, New York

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank A. Cox, R. Goodridge, and H. Trew for research assistance. We are grateful to A. MacNeil, H. Sweatman, and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments. This research was partially funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (P7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement No. 244161 (Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Henri Vallès.

Additional information

Communicated by Biology Editor Dr. Hugh Sweatman

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Vallès, H., Gill, D. & Oxenford, H.A. Parrotfish size as a useful indicator of fishing effects in a small Caribbean island. Coral Reefs 34, 789–801 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-015-1295-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Reef fishery management
  • Parrotfish
  • Fishing effects
  • Size-based indicators