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Showing posts from September, 2008

Royal Gazette Article on MPAs

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Scientist: Bermuda could lead the way on conservation
September 30, 2008
By Amanda Dale

Photo by Glenn Tucker Marine conservationist Dr. Callum Roberts,0p who advises governments around the world on the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Bermuda could lead the way in preserving the marine life of the world's oceans, according to a UK professor. Dr. Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, says up to 40 percent of the Island's waters could be set aside as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), enabling fish stocks and ecosystems to thrive. "Bermuda could lead the way in conservation," said Dr. Roberts. "It has already led the way with the fish pot ban and in protecting parrotfish and coral reefs, but needs to go further." Dr. Roberts said that due to the Island's geographic location, any overfishing made species more vulnerable to dying out — the Nassau Grouper being a prime example. "You …

BREAM Eagle Ray Researchers in the News

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A baby eagle ray, born during the tagging of its mother

BREAM Research, funded partially by BZS, into the population structure and feeding ecology of Bermuda's own Eagle Rays (also called Whip Morays locally) continued last week.

Project coordinator and PhD student Matt Ajemian, with assistance from PhD student Matt Kenworthy, and support from BREAM and the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, were busy collecting tracking sensor data loggers, tagging rays, collecting gut contents and listening for sonic-tagged rays around Harrington Sound and out into the lagoon and around Riddles Bay last week.

A nice Bermuda Sun news article came out Friday September 27th about the project: see link here

Complicated Interactions Amongst Corals Species

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The above photo shows the complexity that can occur when coral cover is high and many species are in contact with each other.

At least four species of coral can be seen interacting through competitive, mutualistic and neutral interactions within and between species, as well as with soft corals and a red alga.

Competition for space between 2 corals

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[click photo to enlarge]

Hard corals compete for space on reefs with other benthic organisms, including other corals (e.g. Lang 1973, Logan 1984).

The photograph above shows a star coral (Montastraea frankesi) overgrowing a brain coral (Diploria strigosa) on a patch reef in the North Lagoon at 3-m depth. The star coral uses stinging tentacles at night to kill and eat the tissue of the brain coral, creating the gap of bare space along the edge between the two corals we can see in the photograph. The star coral then grows new polyps to cover the bare space.

Understanding how corals compete is important, as interactions between coral species are one of many factors that influence the number of species found on a coral reef, its overall rate of growth or erosion, and the availability of small holes for fish and other animals to hide in.
Lang, J. (1973). Interspecific aggression by scleractinian corals. 2. Why the race is not only to the swift. Bull. Mar. Sci. 23: 260-279Logan A. (1984) Inters…

Buoyed Protected Areas Locations

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The following areas are declared to be protected areas for the purposes of section 4 of the Fisheries Act 1972:

1 "Cristobal Colon" located 32o 29.1'N, 64o 42.5'W
- the area within 300 metres radius of a mooring buoy at the wreck of the "Cristobal Colon";

2 "North East Breaker" located 32o 29.0'N, 64o 42.5'W
- the area within 300 metres radius of the North East Breaker beacon;

3 "Taunton" located 32o 29.5'N, 64o 41.5'W
- the area within 300 metres radius of a mooring buoy at the wreck of the "Taunton";

4 "Aristo" located 32o 28.5'N, 64o 39.4'W - the area within a 300 metres radius of a mooring buoy at the wreck of the "Aristo";

5 "Mills Breaker" located 32o 24.6'N, 64o 37.8'W -
the area within 300 metres radius of Mills Breaker beacon;

6 "Pelinaion" & "Rita Zovetto" located 32o 21.3'N,64o 38.4'W
- the area within 500 metres radius of a mooring bu…

Great News: Black grouper fishing ban extended

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From the Royal Gazette: September 5. 2008 08:50AM
Black grouper fishing ban extended

By Amanda Dale

Government has extended the summer fishing ban on black grouper after research revealed the fish continues to spawn beyond August.

Environment Minister El James yesterday announced the closure of a section of the Northeastern Seasonally Protected Area to all fishing activities from September 1 to November 29.

A Government spokesman said: "The protected area is usually closed from May 1 to August 31 each year in order to protect red hind and black grouper — also known as black rockfish, that aggregate to spawn in the area.

"However, recent studies carried out by the Department of Environmental Protection indicate that the rockfish continue to aggregate in the area to spawn beyond the end of August."

The notice is issued under Section 4A of the Fisheries Act 1972 and states: "Take notice that the Minister responsible for the Environment, being satisfied that there is an immed…

Protected Fish Species of Bermuda

Capture is not permitted for the following fish species in Bermuda.

Red GrouperEpinephelus morioSnowy GrouperEpinephelus niveatusNassau GrouperEpinephelus striatusTarponMegalops atlanticusGagMycteroperca microlepisTiger GrouperMycteroperca tigrisYellowfin GrouperMycteroperca venenosaWhale SharkRhincodon typusMidnight ParrotfishScarus coelestinusBlue ParrotfishScarus coeruleusRainbow ParrotfishScarus guacamaiaStriped ParrotfishScarus iseriQueen ParrotfishScarus vetulaMutton HamletAlphestes aferPrincess ParrotfishScarus taeniopterusRedtail ParrotfishSparisoma chrysopterumYellowtail (Redfin) ParrotfishSparisoma rubripinneStoplight ParrotfishSparisoma virideGreenblotch ParrotfishSparisoma atomariumRedband ParrotfishSparisoma aurofrenatumBucktooth ParrotfishSparisoma radiansLined SeahorseHippocampus erectusLongsnout SeahorseHippocampus reidi

Review of Protected Species and Habitats of Bermuda

Protected Marine Species and Habitats of BermudaIn the following posts I will review the legal definitions and list critical marine species and habitats, as defined in the Laws of Bermuda, which are online at this link.
From the Bermuda Government Protected Species Act 2003Legal Definitions:Protected Species:
A Protected Species is any species of plant or animal designated as one of the following:critically endangered,endangered orvulnerablein accordance with the criteria set out in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened SpeciesDesignation of protected status is based on consideration of its: (a) the distribution of the species throughout the world;
(b) the number (with particular regard to the number of
sexually mature members) and distribution of the species in Bermuda;
(c) the location of, and threats to, the habitat of the species; and
(d) natural or man-made factors affecting or potentially affecting the
vulnerability …

Pretty Picture Tuesday

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A mixed school of French Grunts and Grey Snapper hangs out under a ledge.
[click on photo to enlarge]