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Assessing Reproductive Biology of Hawaiian Reef Fishes: The Importance of Fisher and Community Participation

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Item Summary

Title:Assessing Reproductive Biology of Hawaiian Reef Fishes: The Importance of Fisher and Community Participation
Authors:Schemmel, Eva
Date Issued:Dec 2015
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2015]
Abstract:Small-scale fisheries management is moving towards a more holistic and integrated approach, that of ecosystem–based management. This management philosophy incorporates life history, biological and physical processes, and people as integral components of the ecosystem. Although ecosystem-based management is complex, significant progress can be made by incorporating people and communities into resource monitoring and management. This research used a participatory approach and incorporated fishers and community members in research on the biology of several fish of management importance in Hawaiʻi. A fish species of ecosystem-based management importance that is often overlooked is the small pygmy goby (Eviota epiphanies). This research found that E. epiphanies exhibits fast growth and high generational turnover rates, likely contributing significantly to the bioenergetics of coral reef ecosystems. By working with fishers, reproductive biology was collected for the invasive peacock grouper (Cephalopholis argus), and the herbivorous convict tang, (Acanthurus triostegus sandvicensis). Collaborative research helped increase the number of samples collected across locations and time, improving knowledge of fish reproductive biology in Hawaiʻi across multiple scales. Findings from this research show that size at maturity and temporal shifts in spawning seasons is variable by location. These findings suggest that stewardship and management is best conducted at the local level in order to understand and respond to the variability within the ecosystem. To meet these needs, I worked with fishers, communities, NGOs, and state natural resource managers to develop community-based fishery monitoring programs to assess the reproductive biology of harvested reef fishes. These monitoring programs combined traditional Hawaiian ecological knowledge and scientific assessments to better understand local spawning seasons and optimal harvest sizes for reef fishes. By directly monitoring their resources, fishers have the information needed to track changes in their resources, and therefore the ability to respond to changing resource conditions, allowing for informed decisions on the species that are targeted and times that harvest takes place. Lastly, this research demonstrates the power of participatory approaches for collecting information need for ecosystem-based management and the social and ecological benefits of empowering fishers and communities to be monitors and stewards of their resources.
Description:Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Zoology (Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology)

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