Detecting impacts to coral reef fishes in Hawai段: an example of adaptive community-based management

 Brian N. Tissot, Program in Environmental Science and Regional Planning, Washington State University, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686 USA

 Monitoring programs often suffer from weak links to effective management strategies. Along the Kona coast of Hawai段, the aquarium fish collecting industry has been attributed to major declines in the abundance of several reef fishes and has resulted in a multiple use conflict with the dive tourism industry. We designed a study to address the magnitude of these impacts by comparing the abundance of target and select non-target species in both collected and non-collected areas (marine reserves). The design incorporated input from fish collectors, dive tour operators, state resource managers, enforcement, the state legislature, university researchers and the community. Monitoring was conducted by trained undergraduate students in cooperation with staff from the Hawai段 Division of Aquatic Resources supplemented by a community volunteer group trained through a collaborative program with the University of Hawai段 Sea Grant Extension Service. The two year study indicated significant declines in six of the seven most abundantly collected fishes. These data, along with strong public opposition to fish collecting, resulted in the legislative establishment in 1998 of the West Hawa段 Regional Fishery Management Area which requires that a minimum of 30% of the coastline be established as marine reserves with aquarium fish collecting prohibited. Our current efforts are focused on evaluating the effectiveness of these protected areas.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Spokane, WA. July. 1999.


Last update: 1/25/2005