Globally, populations of aggregating fish species are responsibly managed and their aggregations safeguarded, to help protect marine biodiversity, maintain ocean ecosystem integrity and ensure food security and income for current and future generations.
To promote responsible stewardship of fish aggregations through better conservation and management and by building capacity and knowledge based on good science. SCRFA undertakes and promotes documentation of fish aggregations, their status and history, develops methodologies for monitoring and managing aggregations and aggregating species, provides advice on conservation and management options, and conducts and promotes education and awareness-raising
In June 2000, La Paz, Mexico, was the venue of a symposium “The Importance of Spawning Aggregations in the Lives of Reef Fishes”. The symposium drew experts from around the world’s oceans and was the first opportunity for scientists working on aggregations to gather and share their knowledge and experience regarding impacts on aggregations around the tropics. This gathering was the catalyst for the establishment of a formal partnership, originally called the Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Aggregations using the same acronym SCRFA. We gained 501(c)3 status in 2006, registered in California,USA.
In 2012, SCRFA underwent an important identity and name change to “Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregations”, retaining the same acronym, to reflect its expanding remit, activities and interests. The change acknowledged its recognition of the global nature of aggregating species, beyond the tropics (hence ‘Reef’ was removed from the acronym), a growing appreciation of the role of aggregations in marine ecosystems, and their broader implications for food security in the world’s fisheries. We changed the ‘Society’ to ‘Science’ to reflect our ongoing and core focus on good science. We now cover species from the tropics to the poles, from coastal and pelagic to deepwater realms.
SCRFA facilitates and fosters aggregation conservation and management for the long-term within the wider goal of sustainable fishery management. We strive to provide the right information in a way that is useful for communities, authorities, NGOs, etc. to make the best possible decisions under prevailing social and economic contexts. Such decisions need a strong biological and fishery understanding.
We are a formal member of the following:
Martin Russell is a GCFI Board member and SCRFA regularly chairs sessions on spawning aggregations
The heart of our work has been to significantly and effectively increase awareness of what spawning aggregations are, why they are important for both fish reproduction and fisheries, why there are concerns over their future, and how to safeguard their long-term persistence
We aim to greatly improve the understanding appreciation of the biology and ecology of aggregating species, how fisheries interact with them, and the possible approaches for achieving healthy fisheries of aggregating species
To improve awareness and management of fish aggregations requires not only educational and scientific work, but also a shift in perspective, whether by fishers and their communities, or by by managers and the general public. SCRFA hopes to achieve this through newsletters, scientific publications, country and species case studies , news, international calls for action, protocols and methods for studying aggregations, and a range of media outputs.