New research from the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries suggests that larger reef areas may help protect the Caribbean’s coral reef fish communities from the impacts of ocean warming.
“We are seeing alterations to local reef fish populations due to warming ocean temperatures, particularly in those Caribbean countries that are closer to the equator, like Trinidad and Tobago, where commercially important fishes such as Cero and Northern red snapper are on the decline already,” said Ravi Maharaj, first author and PhD candidate at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.
The study looked at the size of reefs in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) – estimated from satellite imagery – of nine Caribbean countries and assessed the impact of rising ocean temperatures on the fish that are most important to the local fisheries. The researchers examined how reef size may moderate such impacts.
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