Ortiz, Delisse, M.*, Tissot, Brian N.; William J. Walsh; Leon E. Hallacher

Washington State Univ., Vancouver, WA.; Division of Aquatic Resources, Kona, HI;  Dept. Biology, Univ. Hawai段, Hilo, HI. 

In 1998, due to a continuous decline of reef fishes, the Hawaii state legislature mandated that 30% of West Hawai段
be closed to aquarium fish collecting. This legislation allowed the creation of a network of nine marine protected
areas (MPA) along the 230 km West Hawai段 coastline. In 1999, the West Hawai段 Aquarium Project (WHAP)
established 23 study sites in MPA, open and control areas (existing protected areas) to collect data both prior to and
after the closure of the MPA network in 2000. To date we have conducted 28 bimonthly fish surveys. Analysis of
baseline and post closure surveys in 2001-2003, documented large recruitment events and significant increases in
aquarium fish in some, but not all, MPAs. Analysis of post-closure surveys in 2003 using size measurements for all
reef fish surveyed and a Before-After Control-Impact procedure provided evidence of a high number of recruits and
juveniles of targeted aquarium fish in MPAs. Aquarium collector harvesting has been documented to have a strong
effect on small aquarium fish. The increase of juvenile fish size is likely the result of the effectiveness of West
Hawai段 MPAs in increasing recruitment events and prohibiting aquarium collectors from removing juveniles from
protected areas.

Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 2003.



Last update: 1/25/2005