Sustainable reference points for multispecies coral reef fisheries.

Jessica Zamborain-Mason, Joshua E. Cinner, M Aaron MacNeil, Nicholas A. J. Graham, Andrew S. Hoey, Maria Beger, Andrew J Brooks, David J Booth, Graham J Edgar, David A Feary, Sebastian C A Ferse, Alan M Friedlander, Charlotte L A Gough, Alison Lesley Green, David Mouillot, Nicholas V C Polunin, Rick D Stuart-Smith, Laurent Wantiez, Ivor D Williams, Shaun K. WilsonSean Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Sustainably managing fisheries requires regular and reliable evaluation of stock status. However, most multispecies reef fisheries around the globe tend to lack research and monitoring capacity, preventing the estimation of sustainable reference points against which stocks can be assessed. Here, combining fish biomass data for >2000 coral reefs, we estimate site-specific sustainable reference points for coral reef fisheries and use these and available catch estimates to assess the status of global coral reef fish stocks. We reveal that >50% of sites and jurisdictions with available information have stocks of conservation concern, having failed at least one fisheries sustainability benchmark. We quantify the trade-offs between biodiversity, fish length, and ecosystem functions relative to key benchmarks and highlight the ecological benefits of increasing sustainability. Our approach yields multispecies sustainable reference points for coral reef fisheries using environmental conditions, a promising means for enhancing the sustainability of the world's coral reef fisheries.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 4 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-09-07
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Andreas Dietzel for providing constructive comments on reef area estimates, Eva Maire for providing travel time estimations, Gordon Tsui for providing catch data cell ID’s, Michel Kulbicki and Tim McClanahan for providing data and constructive comments on the manuscript, and Pascale Chabanet, Eran Brokovich, Marah Hardt, Juan Cruz, Laurent Vigliola, Mark Tupper, and Stuart Sandin for providing data. We also thank all the data collectors. JZM, SRC, AH and JEC thank the Australian Research Council for funding support. MAM was supported by an NSERC Canada Research Chair.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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