Critical thresholds and tangible targets for ecosystem-based management of coral reef fisheries

McClanahan, Tim R., Graham, Nicholas A.J., MacNeil, M. Aaron, Muthiga, Nyawira A., Cinner, Joshua E., Bruggemann, J. Henrich, and Wilson, Shaun K. (2011) Critical thresholds and tangible targets for ecosystem-based management of coral reef fisheries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (41). pp. 17230-17233.

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Abstract

Sustainably managing ecosystems is challenging, especially for complex systems such as coral reefs. This study develops critical reference points for sustainable management by using a large empirical dataset on the coral reefs of the western Indian Ocean to investigate associations between levels of target fish biomass (as an indicator of fishing intensity) and eight metrics of ecosystem state. These eight ecological metrics each exhibited specific thresholds along a continuum of fishable biomass ranging from heavily fished sites to old fisheries closures. Three thresholds lay above and five below a hypothesized window of fishable biomass expected to produce a maximum multispecies sustainable yield (BMMSY). Evaluating three management systems in nine countries, we found that unregulated fisheries often operate below the BMMSY, whereas fisheries closures and, less frequently, gear-restricted fisheries were within or above this window. These findings provide tangible management targets for multispecies coral reef fisheries and highlight key tradeoffs required to achieve different fisheries and conservation goals.

Item ID: 19055
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: human–environment interactions, sustainable fisheries, marine protected areas, resilience, social–ecological systems
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ISSN: 1091-6490
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2011 22:26
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160802 Environmental Sociology @ 40%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070403 Fisheries Management @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
Downloads: Total: 3
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