Spawning Aggregation

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 in Articles | 0 comments

What is a spawning aggregation?  A spawning aggregation is a predictable gathering of adult fishes for the purpose of spawning.  Many species of economically important coral reef fishes form spawning aggregations, creating an amazing spectacle that can consist of tens to thousands of fish.  Unfortunately commercial fishers can quickly wipe out an entire spawning aggregation once the spawning site is discovered, creating one of the most vulnerable situations for reef fish species that aggregate.  For his entire career, Michael Domeier has been very active in spawning aggregation research and conservation.  Most recently, Michael traveled to Kadavu, Fiji, to assist Dr. Yvonne Sadovy with her ongoing study of a grouper spawning aggregation.  The study site is unique in that the local village that owns the fishing rights to the reef has decided to make fishing this spawning aggregation off limits. Unfished spawning aggregation sites are very rare and make for unique research opportunity. Michael designed a new type of conventional tag that he used to mark many of the spawning groupers in hopes that future recaptures will allow the geographic extent to which this particular site attracts adult groupers. Grouper were captured from boats and while SCUBA diving so they could be measured, tagged and released. The Fijian Fisheries Department and Rick Nemeth from the University of the Virgin Islands provided invaluable assistance.

Head of Fijian Fisheries releases the first tagged grouper.

Tagged Grouper Re-Sighted within the Spawning Aggregation

Beatiful Kadavu

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