To improve awareness and management of fish aggregations not only requires ongoing educational work, but also needs a major shift in perspective in fishing communities, by managers and among the general public.
Historically, many aggregations have been the focus of seasonal or ‘jackpot’ fisheries, an eagerly anticipated time when large numbers of fish become, albeit briefly, readily available. In the past, these bonanzas were often the target of communal and low intensity fiji_workshopsubsistence activities. While it is now evident that commercial exploitation can rapidly deplete these events, what is not clear is whether aggregations can be adequately managed using conventional management tools (quotas, effort control, gear regulation, size limits),or whether the aggregations themselves need to be specifically managed, possibly to using conventional tools. Aggregations management would be applicable if there are impacts on reproductive output, such as disruption of spawning or the mating system, that need to be directly addressed by aggregation protection, or if it is easier and cheaper to focus management on aggregations than at other non-aggregating times.
Our Newsletters have a ‘Perspectives’ column to stimulate discussion and we review research and fisheries data to develop recommendations for conservation and management. This work also involves consultation, presentations at conferences and in communities, support of the development of various statements of concern, and raising the issue in international forums such as International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), IUCN, GCFI, and others.
Our work is communicated through Publications, Country Case Studies , News, International Calls for Action, Protocols and Methods, and a range of Media.