From Fish Spawning Aggregations to Effective Marine Protected Areas in Brazil
This project, initiated in 2004, resulted in a substantial advance on the biology of major species of groupers and snappers, which are the largest reef fish exploited by fisheries in the Abrolhos Shelf. This follow-up initiative aimed to provide support for the expansion and adaptive co-management of the Abrolhos Bank Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) network, Brazil. Results from the initial award supported proposals for an additional MPA (first one in mangroves) and buffer zones for the two existing coral reef MPAs. As new MPAs are still required and management is needed for those that are already in place, sound scientific knowledge and broad community engagement are imperative, therefore we gathered and disseminated information from fish landing surveys, habitat mapping, and underwater assessments and incorporated local support. These major targets were achieved with a strong participation of community members in all phases of the project, from research to policy-making. The data collected also provided the basis for capacity-building activities carried out with our partners. The beneficiaries of this effort since 2005 include four undergraduate Biology students, three Masters students in Zoology and Ecology, and one Ph.D. candidate, whose projects included aspects of the ecology of several species of snappers and groupers in Abrolhos.