Reef Fisheries

Posted: 18 October 2000

Author: N.V.C. Polunin and C.M. Roberts
Chapman and Hall, London, 1996, £75.00

Coral reefs typify human dependence on the marine environment. The current global reef fish catch is around six million tonnes per year and represents up to 25 per cent of total fish landings in some countries, providing indispensable protein for coastal populations.

In the Philippines, for example, an area of just 68 square kilometres supports 17,000 livelihoods. These fisheries are usually small-scale and often provide a last resort income in times of poverty; however, they have generally suffered a dismal management record.

Reef fisheries, edited by Polunin and Roberts, brings together fisheries scientists, ecologists and sociologists in the kind of integrated approach that Sylvia Earle might advocate and which is essential to understand these systems. The book covers all aspects of fisheries from egg production to management institutions, with chapters on fish biology, socio-economics, and human ecology. Information previously only to be found in unpublished management reports is synthesized into one volume.

Whilst the text is aimed at researchers, managers and students in this field it will be accessible to non specialists with an interest in these fragile ecosystems.

Reviewer: Maggie Watson

Reviewer Info: Maggie Watson is a research associate with the International Centre for Living Aquatic Resources Management, in the British Virgin Islands.