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Open Access Linking mangroves and fish catch: a correlational study in the southern Caribbean Sea (Colombia)

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Mangroves provide habitat to a variety of fish species, potentially enhancing fish production in small-scale fisheries. Fish production ecosystem services have been correlated with mangrove area and perimeter in many tropical locations; however, nothing has been published linking small-scale fish catch and mangrove descriptors in the southern Caribbean Sea. We correlated the environmental variables with experimentally derived catch per unit of effort (CPUE) and richness of fishes in the Colombian southern Caribbean Sea, an area not directly connected with other productive coastal habitats. We measured mangrove descriptors (area, perimeter, and above-ground carbon), water quality (salinity and total dissolved solids), and water column productivity parameters (chlorophyll a, seston, and zooplankton bio-volume). Mangrove area and zooplankton bio-volume were the main factors influencing the species richness of fish. Mangrove area was positively correlated with catches for three of the most common fish species in the local artisanal fishery: Ariopsis canteri Acero P, Betancur-R, and Marceniuk, 2017; Mugil incilis Hancock, 1830; and Sciades proops (Valenciennes, 1840), which represent ca. 22% of the total regional annual catch. Our results suggest the causal links between mangrove habitat and fishery production through a mangrove trophic contribution. A. canteri appears to be a mangrove-dependent species and M. incilis a mangrove-associated species. Results support managing or preserving mangroves in the most extensive areas in the southern Caribbean to sustain small-scale fishery resources used mainly for community sustenance where alternative resources are limited.
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Affiliations: 1: Corporación Académica Ambiental, Universidad de Antioquia, calle 67 No. 53-108, Medellín, Colombia 2: Instituto de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Antioquia, calle 67 No. 53-108, Medellín, Colombia

Appeared or available online: February 17, 2020

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