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Does collecting inhibit the recovery of anemone and anemonefish populations after bleaching?
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Alison JonesAlison Jones
Anemones and anemonefishes are some of the most popular species targeted by the global marine aquarium trade. In spite of the ease with which they can be aquacultured, most of the trade is supplied by specimens captured from the wild. In the southern inshore section of the Great Barrier Reef (Keppel Islands) populations of Amphiprion akindynos, A. melanopus, E. quadriclour and H. crispa have reached alarmingly low levels as a result of bleaching and collecting impacts. This study examines five sites in this region before and after a voluntary suspension of collection by the Marine Aquarium Fish and Coral Fisheries at three of the five sites. The densities of all three species diminished between December 2009 and September 2010 at all sites. Although there was evidence of an increase in densities since previous surveys conducted by Jones et al (2008) and Frisch et al. (2008), populations were present at low levels compared to other GBR regions. Long-term studies of population changes and species-specific, locally relevant assessment of sustainable yields are urgently needed to inform improved management arrangements and ensure that populations return to healthy levels. However, in light of the predicted future for tropical reefs, it seems inevitable that the trade must shift from wild collection to supply by aquaculture, particularly in the Keppels region.