Although a number of fish monitoring methods currently exist, the C-FISH team, with input from scientists, governmental agencies, and local fishermen have developed the Community-based Live Fish (CLIF) Monitoring method, which allows for accurate data without harming or stressing the fish.
Although this method was developed for getting accurate data on the body weight and total length from samples of fishable species, it can also be used for estimating population density as a proxy of fish biomass per trap, as well as Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE). This method also enables the involvement of fishers in monitoring, which is an important component of SFCA governance (One of the 8 principles of good governance of protected areas as identified by Elinor Ostrom). Engaging community stakeholders in this method is an important part of this project and will help improve understanding and awareness among the fishers and other stakeholders about the objectives of the sanctuaries.
In summary, this method involves catching samples of fish using fish traps. The fish are submerged in a clove oil anaesthetic, removed and their measurements taken. When all fish have recovered, they are released back into the ocean. It is an intensive method involving conducting monitoring for 28 days, twice per year (Every 6 months). Please visit our Resources page to download the full CLIF Monitoring Methodology.
Photos: Wardens and CARIBSAVE personnel perform their first CLIF monitoring exercise in Galleon, St. Elizabeth Jamaica (header, CARIBSAVE); The CLIF monitoring methodology was designed with input from fishers, community members, scientists and sanctuary personnel; and involved more than one workshop (above right, S. Lee).
In 2015, representatives from each of the sanctuary managing bodies participated in a Data Management Training Session (through IUCN's BIOPAMA program) in which they provided feedback on the methodolgoy, reviewed intial results and were trained in data management concepts that would improve their capacity as commnity scientists.
During the course of C-FISH, grantee sites perfomed between 3 and 7 rounds of CLIF monitoring. The results for these were collected, and analysed to produce a final report.
The CLIF Final Report includes analysis on (i) catch composition, diversity and species abundance, (ii) fish biomass inside vs outside sanctuaries, and (iii) biomass of special groups (herbivores, commerical species, lobster).
Figure (left) Mean biomass of fish caught inside and outside of the Oracabessa Bay fish sanctuary throughout six sample rounds from April 2013-November 2015