Present address: School of Biological Sciences, Woodland Road, University of Bristol, BS8 1UG, U.K.
Restoring depleted coral-reef fish populations through recruitment enhancement: a proof of concept
Article first published online: 3 DEC 2009
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles
Journal of Fish Biology
Volume 75, Issue 7, pages 1857–1867, November 2009
How to Cite
Heenan, A., Simpson, S. D., Meekan, M. G., Healy, S. D. and Braithwaite, V. A. (2009), Restoring depleted coral-reef fish populations through recruitment enhancement: a proof of concept. Journal of Fish Biology, 75: 1857–1867. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2009.02401.x
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2009
- Article first published online: 3 DEC 2009
- (Received 11 December 2008, Accepted 21 September 2009)
- Pomacentrus amboinensis;
- restorative management;
- settlement-stage coral-reef fishes
To determine whether enhancing the survival of new recruits is a sensible target for the restorative management of depleted coral-reef fish populations, settlement-stage ambon damsel fish Pomacentrus amboinensis were captured, tagged and then either released immediately onto small artificial reefs or held in aquaria for 1 week prior to release. Holding conditions were varied to determine whether they affected survival of fish: half the fish were held in bare tanks (non-enriched) and the other half in tanks containing coral and sand (enriched). Holding fish for this short period had a significantly positive effect on survivorship relative to the settlement-stage treatment group that were released immediately. The enrichment of holding conditions made no appreciable difference on the survival of fish once released onto the reef. It did, however, have a positive effect on the survival of fish while in captivity, thus supporting the case for the provision of simple environmental enrichment in fish husbandry. Collecting and holding settlement-stage fish for at least a week before release appear to increase the short-term survival of released fish; whether it is an effective method for longer-term enhancement of locally depleted coral-reef fish populations will require further study.