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TABLE 1.2 Biomass of Fishes on Coral Reefs in Relation to Human Population Size per km of Reef or Reserve Status

Location

Human Population Size per km Reef or Protection Status

Fish Biomass, g/m2

Kingman (CP)

0

1,020/530a

Jarvis (CP)

0

800

Palmyra (CP)

0.5

520/260a

Baker (CP)

0

390

Cozumel (C)

Protected

386

Kiritimati (CP)

21.1

310/130a

Cuba (C)

Protected

275

NW Hawaiian Islands (NCP)

Protected

240

Bahamas (C)

Protected

194

Tavunasica (WP)

2.6

140

Kenya (IO)

Protected

115

Vuaqava (WP)

6.6

103

Florida (C)

Unprotected

101

Totoya (WP)

18

80

Kabara (WP)

43.3

75

Main Hawaiian Islands (NCP)

Unprotected

70

Matuku (WP)

24.4

67

Moala (WP)

26.2

60

Bahamas (C)

Unprotected

57

Kenya (IO)

Unprotected

<40

Jamaica

Unprotected

39

NOTES: See Knowlton and Jackson (2008). C, Caribbean; CP, central Pacific; IO, Indian Ocean; NCP, north central Pacific; WP, western Pacific.

aSample dates: 1997/2005.

We can put numbers on these impressions by comparison of modern Caribbean fish communities on unprotected reefs versus sites inside the few long-established marine protected areas (MPAs) where fishing is prohibited and the rules are strictly enforced (Table 1.2) (Newman et al., 2006; Paredes, 2007). Unprotected reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans are comparably overfished, although few if any as badly as Jamaica (Table 1.2) (McClanahan et al., 2001, 2007; Dulvy et al., 2002; Friedlander and DeMartini, 2002; Jackson, 2006). As for corals, the greatest fish biomass and largest fish occur on the uninhabited and protected atolls of the central and north central Pacific that may never have been severely degraded (Table 1.2) (Knowlton and Jackson, 2008). The highest fish biomass on these isolated atolls is 1,000 g/m2, which is only double that on the best-protected Caribbean reefs. Piscivores comprise ≈50–85% of total fish biomass (McClanahan et al., 2007; Knowlton and Jackson, 2008), most of it large sharks. In general, apex predators are virtually absent from reefs



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