Using size-weight relationships to estimate biomass of heavily targeted aquarium corals by Australia’s coral harvest fisheries

Pacey, Kai I., Caballes, Ciemon F., and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2023) Using size-weight relationships to estimate biomass of heavily targeted aquarium corals by Australia’s coral harvest fisheries. Scientific Reports, 13. 1448.

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Coral reefs are highly threatened environs subject to ongoing unprecedented degradation as a result of anthropogenic activities. Given the existential threat to coral reef ecosystems, extractive industries that make use of coral reef resources, are facing significant public and political pressure to quantify and justify their environmental impact. In Australia, hundreds of thousands of live scleractinian (hard) corals are harvested annually directly from the wild to supply the growing international marine aquarium trade. Many of the most popular and high value aquarium corals are believed to be slow growing, which would make them particularly vulnerable to over-fishing. Corals present a number of unique challenges for fisheries management, not least of which, is the marked variation in the size of corals, which may be harvested in whole or in part. This issue is further compounded because harvest limits are typically weight-based, but there is very limited information on the standing biomass of corals in targeted stocks. Herein, we describe size-weight relationships for some of Australia’s most heavily targeted coral species (Catalaphyllia jardinei, Duncanopsammia axifuga, Euphyllia glabrescens, Homophyllia cf. australis, Micromussa lordhowensis, Trachyphyllia geoffroyi), which allows estimation of standing biomass from transect surveys. This work represents an important first step in the development of ecologically sound management strategies by bridging the gap between catch reporting and stock assessments.

Item ID: 78288
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2023 00:19
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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