Title: Developing a reef fisheries management tool using environmental acoustic, light and bio-chemosensory cues.
I am studying the orientation behaviour of larval coral reef fishes with a view to using it in the development of a low cost reef fisheries management tool. With the global decline of marine resources, early life history phase fisheries are a viable option for a sustainable approach to the extractive fishing industry currently operating on coral reefs worldwide. Larval fishes are targeted at the end of the pelagic phase, circumventing the natural mortality bottleneck that determines adult population size. Larvae can then be reared for aquaculture, to supply the marine aquarium trade and potentially for biomass restocking programs. From the literature and fieldwork at Lizard Island Research Station, Australia, I have been identifying the sensory driven orientation behaviour of settlement stage coral reef fish larvae. The next stage will be to incorporate findings into larval collection techniques such as light traps and fisheries aggregation devices. This will be done in collaboration with Ecocean and ReefCheck (a partnership currently running a larval rearing program in the Philippines), to assess the efficacy of utilising sensory cues on an applied management scale.