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Fishery-independent data reveal negative effect of human population density on Caribbean predatory fish communities
Stallings, C.D. (2009). Fishery-independent data reveal negative effect of human population density on Caribbean predatory fish communities. PLoS One 4(5): 9 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1371/journal.pone.0005333
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

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  • Stallings, C.D.

Abstract
    BackgroundUnderstanding the current status of predatory fish communities, and the effects fishing has on them, is vitally important information for management. However, data are often insufficient at region-wide scales to assess the effects of extraction in coral reef ecosystems of developing nations.Methodology/Principal FindingsHere, I overcome this difficulty by using a publicly accessible, fisheries-independent database to provide a broad scale, comprehensive analysis of human impacts on predatory reef fish communities across the greater Caribbean region. Specifically, this study analyzed presence and diversity of predatory reef fishes over a gradient of human population density. Across the region, as human population density increases, presence of large-bodied fishes declines, and fish communities become dominated by a few smaller-bodied species.Conclusions/SignificanceComplete disappearance of several large-bodied fishes indicates ecological and local extinctions have occurred in some densely populated areas. These findings fill a fundamentally important gap in our knowledge of the ecosystem effects of artisanal fisheries in developing nations, and provide support for multiple approaches to data collection where they are commonly unavailable.

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