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Reconstruction of coral reef fisheries catches in American Samoa, 1950-2002
Zeller, D.; Booth, S.; Craig, P.; Pauly, D. (2006). Reconstruction of coral reef fisheries catches in American Samoa, 1950-2002. Coral Reefs 25: 144-152
In: Coral Reefs. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg; New York. ISSN 0722-4028, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Zeller, D.
  • Booth, S.
  • Craig, P.
  • Pauly, D., more

    Fisheries catches from Pacific Island coral reefsare rarely recorded in official statistics. Reconstruction ofcatch estimates with limited hard data requires interpolationand assumptions, justifiable only by the unsatisfactory alternative of continued substitution of zero catches, a common policy interpretation for ‘no data’. Uncertainties associated with reconstructions are high, requiring conservative estimation. American Samoan domestic fisheries consist of an artisanal, small-boat sector, whose commercial catches are reported, and a shorebased subsistence sector, with no regular reporting. Our catch reconstruction (with large pelagic species removed) suggested a 79% decrease in catches between 1950 (752 t) and 2002 (155 t). Accounting for rapid human population growth on the main island, the per capita catch rate may have declined from 36.3 kg person -1 year-1 in 1950 to 1.3 kg person -1 year-1 by 2002, while the catch rate for the inhabited outer islands has been independently reported as 58.6 kg person-1 year-1. Catch per area of coral reef (to 50-m depth) may have declined from 5.5 to 0.7 t km-2 year-1 for the main island, and from 9.1 to 4.9 t km-2 year-1 for the outer islands, for 1950 and 2002, respectively. Summed for 1950-2002, our reconstruction suggested a 17-fold difference between reconstructed estimates and reported statistics.

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