PICRC researchers monitor fish landings to inform management
To provide feedback and recommendations on Koror’s new coastal fisheries management plan, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) will be monitoring fish landings at the JR5 fish market every day for one year from February 2023 to February 2024. This involves taking videos of the fish sold to the market using a stereo-video camera system, which will then be analyzed to identify fish species and measure their length. The researchers are also conducting interviews with fishers to collect information on fishing methods, habitat types, and effort.
“To manage a fishery sustainably we need to know how many fish there are, which species are present, how quickly they grow and reproduce, and how many can be harvested without putting the fishery in danger of collapse,” said researcher Christina Muller-Karanassos. “Collecting data on fish species and size will allow us to determine if fish stocks are recovering or continuing to decline.”
Being the most populous state in Palau, Koror’s waters are used intensively as important subsistence and commercial fishing grounds. The new coastal fisheries management plan—the Southern Lagoon Coastal Fisheries Management Plan—has been developed with the goals of helping reef fish and invertebrates to recover from over-harvesting and ensuring that the Koror community will continue to benefit from its coastal fisheries resources into the future. PICRC is currently carrying out a variety of research and monitoring activities to provide feedback and recommendations on this new management plan.
Data collected from the JR5 fish market will be compared to previous data collected by The Nature Conservancy and the Bureau of Marine Resources to uncover how landings have changed over time. Additional information provided by fishers will allow changes in fishing methods, habitats, and effort to be determined.