ARMS Restore logo

Reef Fisheries

gillnet fishersImproved governance and management are commonly applied to restore coral reef fisheries, though face many challenges. Where these strategies cannot meet human demand, engineered approaches such as artificial reefs and aquaculture may be useful in increasing seafood availability. Artificial reefs have the potential to support local food security by increasing the abundance of locally consumed marine species. The abundance of fishes on artificial reefs has indeed been shown to increase over time and be greater than on natural reefs. Yet, a fundamental question remains unanswered: do artificial reefs increase fish abundances or merely aggregate existing populations from reefs nearby, making extraction easier? Given that most locations lack enough fish to sustain local human populations, aggregating harvested species on artificial reefs may be harmful by amplifying overfishing. Therefore, it is critical to determine whether artificial reefs increase the abundances of harvested species. Despite 50 years of implementation, most artificial reefs lack baseline data, monitoring, and links to human health and well-being and there has been little assessment of whether these systems can rebuild functional coral reefs, perhaps explaining why many reef managers have not implemented this potentially useful technology. 

fisheries We will use GPS and participative catch monitoring to collect extremely fine-scale data that will be used to map fishing activities, allowing us to accurately quantify fishing pressure, which we will then connect to catch diversity and biomass. These data will allow us to compare the size and diversity of fish catches on natural reefs and artificial reefs, which, when paired with fisheries-independent measures of biomass, will allow us to quantify what is caught versus what remains on the reef. This approach will also allow us to quantify fishing effort, and when linked with our socio-economic and health data, will allow us to draw connections between fishing activities, seafood consumption, and human health and well-being.


Image of Durand

Dr. Jean-Dominique Durand
Senior Scientist, IRD (France)

Image of Gibbons

Emma Gibbons
PI, Reef Doctor

Image of Golden

Dr. Chris Golden
PI, Harvard University

Image of Hartmann

Dr. Aaron Hartmann
PI, Harvard University

Dr. Marc LĂ©opold
PI, IRD (France)

Dr. Dominique Ponton
Senior Scientist, IRD (France)

Image of Ranaivomanana

Sandra Ranaivomanana
PhD student, IHSM (U. of Tulear)

Image of Troell

Dr. Max Troell
PI, Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics