Date of Graduation

Fall 2012

Degree

Master of Science in Biology

Department

Biology

Committee Chair

Daniel Beckman

Keywords

Jamaica, Bluefields Bay, artificial reef, marine protected area, fish population

Subject Categories

Biology

Abstract

Severe overfishing has presented a substantial dilemma in Jamaica. The fish populations within the country's boundaries have been decimated over an extensive period of time. Neighboring Caribbean countries use Jamaica as a worst case scenario as far as fisheries management is concerned. To alleviate the problem, the Jamaican government has implemented a number of measures in order to allow fish populations to rebound. An artificial reef was created within Bluefields Bay Marine Sanctuary, a newly created no-take preserve. The goal of the artificial reef is to provide protection and habitat for various fish populations. Once the population reaches carrying capacity, fish should expand outwards of the protected zone and increase surrounding artisanal fisheries harvests. This study's purpose was to provide a picture of the resident fish populations before and after the artificial reef was installed. Data collections took place in June 2011, January 2012, and June 2012. Results indicated statistically significant differences between the artificial reef and various other habitat controls. Species richness, abundance and diversity increased over time in the Bay, although the increase of a single species, the French grunt, was the dominant factor in this trend. Fish populations are under severe threat in Jamaican waters and this marine protected area provided an example of how conservation efforts can be productive.

Copyright

© Joshua Harrison Rudolph

Campus Only

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