Study shows fishing is threat to Hawaii's reef fishes - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Study shows fishing is threat to Hawaii's reef fishes

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A new study by six Hawaii fishery scientists shows fishing is a top threat to our islands' nearshore fisheries more than other coastal sedimentaion, pollution or human impacts.

The study, published in the scientific journal Environmental Conservation, shows that popular reef fishes such as uhu, ulua and redfish are severely depleted.  However, fish that are not as popular like hawkfishes, butterflyfishes, small triggerfish and surgeonfish are faring better.

The research team says coastal pollution and the resulting loss of reef habitat is having an impact on the health of fish populations in Hawaii but they believe fishing pressure may be a bigger factor.

"If the chief cause of fish declines was habitat loss or environmental degradation related to development and pollution, then we would have seen fish declines across the board," said Williams, a scientist with the University of Hawaii's Cooperative Fishery Research Unit. "Instead, fish declines along human population trends were only really apparent for species preferred by fishers."

The scientists compared fish populations at 89 sites throughout the main Hawaiian Islands, including urbanized areas, remote and rural regions.

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