World-First Discovery ‘Can Help Save Coral Reefs’

ScienceDaily (Sep. 29, 2011) — An international team of scientists has achieved a major breakthrough in fishing sustainability on coral reefs which could play a vital role in preventing their collapse.

“Fishermen and scientists have long wondered how many fish can be taken off a reef before it collapses, says Dr Nick Graham of the ARC Centre of Excellence (ARC CoE) for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

“The consequences of overfishing can be severe to the ecosystem and may take decades to recover, but hundreds of millions of people depend on reefs for food and livelihoods, so banning fishing altogether isn’t a reality in many nations.”

In a report in the September 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) the researchers demonstrate how overfishing can generate a predictable sequence of events that lead to the collapse of reef ecosystems.

Their research offers a vital new tool for managing corals reefs and tropical fisheries worldwide, providing clear targets for sustainability that can help reef fisheries

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