Short Communication: Rapid Visual Assessment of Fish Communities on Selected Reefs in the Bazaruto Archipelago
Rapid visual censuses were conducted of fish on eight coral reefs in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique, in 2007. SCUBA and snorkelling were used for the censuses in depths between 1-20 m, yielding an inventory of 249 fish species belonging to 50 families. This is intended to serve as a baseline for more detailed studies and monitoring programmes in the future. Although fewer species were recorded relative to other studies conducted in the Western Indian Ocean, the trophic structure on Bazaruto’s reefs proved typical for the region, indicating a relative measure of reef health. However, other regional studies were not directly comparable, differing in habitat, duration of sampling effort and methodology. This highlighted the need for a long-term monitoring programme specifically adapted for the Bazaruto reef types to provide a basis for their sound management and conservation.
Keywords: Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique, ichthyofauna, fish surveys, underwater visual census, coral reefs.
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