In Pohnpei, Micronesia, a 10-year (2006–2015) follow-up market survey was conducted to provide the basis for a comparative assessment of the status of the commercial inshore ﬁshery, to inform management and to identify the most relevant management options. Within this timeframe, marketed coral reef ﬁsh volumes declined by 50 mt (ca. 20%), the use of unsustainable ﬁshing methods (nighttime spearﬁshing and small-mesh gillnets) in- creased from 75.5% to 81.9%, and catch-per-unit-eﬀort decreased from 3.4 ± 0.1 to 3.2 ± 0.4 kg h−1 ﬁsher1. Simultaneously, the economic return as price per unit eﬀort was nearly halved for all gear types. Trip volumes increased, however, this was paralleled by a rise in the average number of ﬁshers per trip, particularly for nighttime spearﬁshing. Eﬀort shifted from inner to outer reef areas and further away from high ﬁsher density communities. At the family level, increases in the percentage of lower tropic level catch were observed, with herbivores and planktivores increasing in frequency in catch more than other trophic level ﬁshes. The only weight increase among top carnivores was for epinephelids, however this was accompanied by a greater con- tribution by juveniles for the most commonly targeted grouper, Camouﬂage grouper, Epinephelus polyphekadion. Among ﬁsh families, eight epinephelids were absent in catch in 2015 compared to 2006, with additional species observed in speared catch in 2015 that were absent in 2006. To reverse continuing declines and prevent the potential for ﬁsheries collapse, government needs to institute rights-based management, ban the use of nighttime spearﬁshing and small-mesh gillnets, and improve existing enforcement within marine protected areas and markets.
Kevin L. Rhodes, Dalia X. Hernandez-Ortiz, Javier Cuetos-Bueno, McKye Ioanis, Welbert Washington, Ryan Ladore