Fisher behavior influences catch productivity and selectivity in West Hawaii’s aquarium fishery

Stevenson, T. C., Tissot, B. N. and Dierking, Jan (2011) Fisher behavior influences catch productivity and selectivity in West Hawaii’s aquarium fishery ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68 (5). pp. 813-822. DOI 10.1093/icesjms/fsr020.

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Abstract

In 1999, marine protected areas (MPAs) were implemented along the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, closing ~35% of the coastline to aquarium fishing. Catch per unit effort and total catch of the most commonly targeted fish, yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), have increased since the implementation of the MPAs, yet its abundance has declined by 45% in areas open to aquarium fishing between 1999 and 2007. How effort allocation, harvesting efficiencies, and job satisfaction influence catch productivity and selectivity in West Hawaii’s aquarium fishery are investigated, and how these dynamics explain the discrepancy between catch rates and relative abundance for yellow tang is discussed. Cross-sectional fisher questionnaires, semi-structured fisher interviews, and in situ and ex situ catch analyses were performed. The results indicate that fishers dive deeper when reef fish recruitment is perceived as weak, increase harvest efficiency with larger fishing teams, and intensively harvest “coral-friendly” reef fish to supply the global aquarium fish trade. Experienced fishers were less likely to exit the fishery, and job satisfaction was high despite declining fish stocks. These findings may help explain harvesting efficiencies and fleet investment, underscore the importance for evaluating fisher behaviours, and have potential management implications for other aquarium fisheries.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Ichthyology; coral reef fisheries, effort allocation, fisher job satisfaction, harvesting efficiencies, Hawaii, ornamental fish trade, yellow tang(Zebrasoma flavescens)
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1093/icesjms/fsr020
ISSN: 1054-3139
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2011 12:14
Last Modified: 16 May 2017 13:01
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/10755

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