A Comparison of Fish Communities Between Protected and Unprotected Areas of the Belize Reef Ecosystem: Implications for Conservation and Management

Sedberry, G.R. and Carter, J. and Barrick, P.A. A Comparison of Fish Communities Between Protected and Unprotected Areas of the Belize Reef Ecosystem: Implications for Conservation and Management. [Other peer-reviewed publication]

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    Abstract

    The coral reef ecosystem of Belize consists of 260km of barrier and fringing reef extending from Mexico to Bahia Honduras, and it includes three offshore atolls (figure 1). The Belizean reef complex comprises reef, seagrass, and mangrove habitats critical to the life history of many species of economic importance in the Greater Caribbean Region.However, growth in tourism, fishing, and human population have increased demands on these relatively pristine coastal and marine systems (Robert Nicolait & Associates,1984). Overfishing has depleted once abundant stocks of conch, lobster (Gibson 1991), and finfish such as groupers and snappers (Robert Nicolait & Associates, 1984; Price et al., 1990). Pollution resulting from residential and commercial coastal developments, accidental discharges from vessels, marine debris, littering, siltation of the reef from dredging operations and chemical runoff from increased agricultural production is an increasing problem. As in many other tropical and sub-tropical regions, where multispecies fisheries and complex habitats and life history patterns confound traditional management methods (e.g. minimum sizes gear or seasonal restrictions), an approach to the conservation of finfish stocks and biodiversity has been the establishment of protected areas (Randall, 1982; Buxton and Smale, 1989; Alcala and Russ,1990; Plan Development Team, 1990; Rigney, 1991). In 1982, Belize established the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument on Lighthouse Reef Atoll, and in 1987, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve was established on the Barrier Reef and adjacent lagoon. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve has been well received by resource managers, tour operators, and tourists, and serves as a catalyst for the creation of other parks in the region, including a marine reserve on Glovers Reef Atoll (Gibson, 1988; Carter et al., in press;

    Item Type: Other peer-reviewed publication
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      Publisher:
      Keywords: protected areas, fish communities, Belize Reef, community structure
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACB) Marine
      (H) Protected Areas > (HD) Marine Reserve
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2011 14:24
      Last Modified: 06 Jan 2011 14:24
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/1187

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