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Friday, September 08, 2006

Solomon Islands blessed with reef fish: Report

By Moffat Mamu

Solomon Islands has one of the highest sea areas that is blessed with reef fish. This was found in an intensive research and survey conducted in 2004 by a team of local and international experts. The findings were made in a report launched in Honiara on Wednesday.

The survey that was documented in the Rapid Ecological Assessment Report 2004 by the Solomon Islands Marine Assessment team confirmed that Solomon Islands possess one of the richest concentrations of reef fish in the world. During the survey, which took five weeks, a total of 1019 fish species were recorded, of which 786 were observed during the survey and the rest were found from museum collections.

A formula for predicting the total reef fish fauna indicates that at least 1,159 species can be expected to occur in the Solomon Islands, the report said. Forty-seven new distributional records were obtained, including at least one new species of cardinal fish. The number of species visually surveyed at each site ranged from 100 to 279, with an average of 184.7.

Two hundred or more species per site is considered the benchmark for an excellent fish count, and this figure was achieved at 37 percent of the sites in the Solomon Islands. One site (Njari Island, Gizo) was the fourth highest fish count ever recorded for a single dive, surpassed only by three sites in the Raja Ampat Islands.
Government officials, provincial premiers, diplomatic corps and the NGO groups attended the launching of the report.

Permanent Secretary of Fisheries Ethel Sigimanu said although the news is good tidings and something to be proud of, the marine resources should be better managed to avoid over fishing from the increasing population. She said such a report should be a baseline where the government must work hard to maintain its resources in a sustainable manner for future generations.

Source: Solomon Star

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