Individual biological groups within dynamic coral reef systems are vital to overall ecosystem resilience. Herbivorous parrotfishes are no exception, as their grazing behavior assists in the success of coral recruits and reduces the impact of competitive algal growths. Despite their importance, parrotfish are also vulnerable to local overfishing in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). In recent years, managers have implemented many regulations, along with specific gear and fishing bans in recent years. To assess the impact of these regulations, larval parrotfish were collected in the USVI in 2007, 2008, and 2009, as part of a comprehensive larval distribution and supply study in the area. Larvae were collected using plankton net tows, and were visually identified to the genus level. Total abundance and distribution over time and by region showed significant differences due to year, water column depth, and region. These results provide insights about likely locations of local spawning grounds, and may be used as a baseline of larval parrotfish status prior to recent regulations. During a crucial time period of overfishing of the stock, this project offers a unique fishery-independent look at the valuable parrotfish populations of the Virgin Islands.
Privoznik, Sarah, "Larval parrotfish abundance and distribution in the U.S. Virgin Islands: a baseline for management assessments" (2014). Internship Reports (Restricted). 157.
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