Likely over fishing a worry

Participants at the American wharf on Vuna Road

Nuku’alofa – May 12, 2020: 11.35am (Enviro News): A Marine Survey team that conducted practical training on reefs close to the Nuku’alofa waterfront say early indications show that there might be over fishing in the area.

Lead facilitator and Department of Environment’s Penikoni Aleamotua’a said the overgrowth of green algae indicates that there was a lack of parrot fish around.

“That also indicates the likelihood that there has been over fishing of parrot fish here,” he added.

Mr Penikoni Aleamotua’a facilitating the training. Photos: ENVIRO NEWS

Mr Penikoni worked with MECA – a new environment group, in collaboration with the Department of Environment to conduct a ‘Marine Ecological Assessment Survey Technique Training’, as part of its ‘Aukau Mai Citizen Science Program for Diving Business in Tongatapu and Community NGO’s.

Participants were from the Deep Blue Diving Tonga and the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, who participated in the three days traninig.

During the first day the participants were introduces to MECA’s Citizen Science Program, growing pressures on our marine environment, Introduction to Identification and classification of marine species, coral health, fish abundance and invertebrate species identification, followed by introduction to marine ecological assessment methodology and how to record and collect data during a survey.

On the second day, the participants took to the sea for survey and collection of data from the reef.

Participants were then trained on how to analyse and report their data.

Mr Penikoni said their survey saw that there were excessive growth of macro-algae along the reef edges due to absent of important key species such as parrot fish.

“That is a this is a sign of over fishing in the area,” he added.

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