Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 171–185 | Cite as

Participatory fishery monitoring is successful for understanding the reproductive biology needed for local fisheries management

  • E. M. SchemmelEmail author
  • A. M. Friedlander


Tropical fisheries management should rely on reproductive biology to inform management regulations; however, this information is often lacking and can be highly variable over in space and time. It is unfeasible for many fisheries, especially data-poor ones that are typical of tropical reefs to collect the necessary information on reproductive biology. One solution is a participatory approach where local fishers, scientists, and regulating agencies gather the necessary information to assess population variability for important management metrics such as size at maturity, reproductive output, and spawning seasons. Through collaborations with local fishers, we developed a monitoring program to gather population-level information on the reproductive characteristics of the convict tang, Acanthurus triostegus sandvicensis. We examined four locations across the main Hawaiian Islands and found size at maturity [size at which 50% of individuals are mature (L50)] to vary among locations, with interpopulation differences in maturity ~ 20% of the fish’s total length. Larger individuals produced more eggs and spawned more often than smaller individuals. A semilunar spawning pattern was observed, with group spawning occurring near the new and full moons. However this pattern was variable by year and location, likely resulting from different seasonal peaks in spawning by location. Gonadosomatic index (t = 2.41, p-value = 0.02) and spawning fraction (z = 2.92, p-value < 0.01) were both significantly higher in 2014 compared to 2013, suggesting annual variability in reproductive output. Participatory fishery monitoring proved successful in collecting biological needed for management and improved understanding of population reproductive variability.


Tropical fisheries Life history Reproduction Participatory research Acanthurus 



Funding was provided by Conservation International Hawaiʻi and through a Hawaiʻi Coral Reef Management Grant through NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program Award to the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) (award #:NA13NOS4820014). Many fishers donated gonad samples for this research including dedicated fishers: Linda Castro, Alex Filous, Luka Mossman, Matt Ramsey, Kekaulike Tomich, Chad Wiggins, Yumi Yasutake, and Bart Wilcox. Community support and guidance was provided by Hui Aloha Kīholo. Collaborative support was also by The Nature Conservancy and DAR. Support and guidance was from the Fisheries Ecology Research Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa members: Mary Donovan, Alex Filous, Jonatha Giddens, Whitney Goodell, Ily Iglesias, Hal Muro-Koike, Keith Kamikawa, Kaylyn McCoy, Kosta Stamoulis, and Paolo Usseglio. Approval of University of Hawaiʻi Animal Care and Use Committee was through protocol #13-1710.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Department, Fisheries Ecology Research LaboratoryUniversity of Hawaii ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Conservation International HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  3. 3.Pristine SeasNational Geographic SocietyWashingtonUSA

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