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The importance of ecosystem-based management for conserving aquatic migratory pathways on tropical high islands: a case study from Fiji

Jenkins, Aaron and Jupiter, S.D. and Qauqau, I. and Atherton, J. (2010) The importance of ecosystem-based management for conserving aquatic migratory pathways on tropical high islands: a case study from Fiji. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20 (2). pp. 224-238. ISSN 1052-7613

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1. Tropical, high islands of the Pacific have developed unique freshwater fish faunas that are currently threatened by a range of human activities. This paper documents distinct differences in life history strategies from fish communities found in streams of Fiji compared with fish assemblages in freshwater systems on larger continental land masses. While river systems of northern Australia and Papua New Guinea have a high proportion of freshwater residents, the Fiji fauna is dominated by amphidromous gobiids that migrate across a broad range of habitats throughout their life cycle. 2. The number of amphidromous fish species and the number of all fish species in mid-reaches of Fiji rivers are significantly affected by loss of catchment forest cover and introductions of tilapia (Oreochromis spp.). On average, stream networks with established Oreochromis spp. populations have 11 fewer species of native fish than do intact systems. The fish that disappear are mostly eleotrid and gobiid taxa, which have important dietary and economic value. 3. Based on the strong links between catchment land clearing, non-native species introductions and loss of migratory pathways for freshwater fish, spatial information was compiled on a national scale to identify priority areas for conservation in Fiji with intact connectivity between forests, hydrologic networks and coral reefs. Areas with high connectivity included remote, largely undeveloped regions of Vanua Levu (Kubulau, Wainunu, Dama, Udu Point, Natewa, Qelewara) and Taveuni, as well as smaller mapping units (Naikorokoro, Sawakasa) of Viti Levu with low density of roads and high relative amounts of mangroves and reefs. 4. These priority areas for conservation can only be effectively protected and managed through cross-sectoral collaboration and ecosystem-based approaches.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Marine Studies
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2010 01:37
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 09:09

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