By Pedro Henrique Cipresso Pereira, Ph.D.
Marine Conservation Action Fund grantee
Director, Coral Reef Conservation, Reef Conservation Project
The Marine Conservation Action Fund-supported project – Conservation of the endemic and endangered parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus) in Brazilian waters: Community-based actions and research – is promoting a series of actions regarding the protection of the greenback parrotfish (Scarus trispinosus), one of the most threatened parrotfish on Earth, in the reefs off the northeast coast of Brazil.
The project, which has been very successful so far, started with research on priority conservation areas and the mapping of possible breeding and nursery areas. These critical areas could be included on a management plan for the Costa do Corals marine protected area.
We also conduct activities related to public awareness and environmental education to reduce threats to the species and educate children on the ecological importance of this fish. To date, we have performed 10 workshops in local community schools to more than 400 kids, sharing information on the species’ ecology, behavior, conservation status, and importance on the reefs. We have developed a booklet regarding this species and used this material extensively during our activities.
Finally, a series of activities have also been conducted with local fishermen in order to reduce fishing pressure on the species and improve the integration of our project and local managers with local fishermen. Meetings have been conducted to discuss the situation and threatened status of the species. Also, more than 100 interviews were performed to collect data on the fisheries collapse for the species in order to understand current population status and trends on the species catch and size.
The next steps of our project will be focused on the elaboration and implementation of fisheries management plan for the species under Brazilian government and local community members support. An effective and supervised management plan for the species could be a vital strategy for population recovery.