When SCRFA was formed in 2000, few people, apart from those fishing aggregations, a handful of biologists and some countries where aggregations had long been fished, knew much about them. Even then, the understanding of their vulnerability to fishing and the importance of aggregating species to coastal fisheries of the tropics and sub-tropics was little appreciated.
An important aspect of our work has been to significantly increase awareness of what aggregations are, why they are important for both fish reproduction and as a basis for fisheries, why there are concerns over their future, and to highlight a range of solutions to ensure their long-term persistence. To this end, we have produced a range of materials, including scientific publications, a comprehensive website, and generic and country-specific materials in several languages. We also conduct workshops on the identification and management of aggregations, and provide feedback on proposals, management plans, and so forth.
We believe that one of the biggest obstacles to better use of fisheries resources, including aggregating species, in many countries is a fundamental lack of understanding of how they work. As just one example, it is still believed in many places that if catches decline locally the fish are still around but have moved elsewhere. Such misconceptions can make the difficult steps towards management all but impossible.