Ecology and conservation of reef fish spawning aggregations in the Abrolhos Bank, Brazil

Ronaldo Francini-Filho

The Reef Fish Spawning Aggregations project aims to determine the location and characteristics of spawning aggregations of threatened and commercially important reef fishes (Lutjanidae and Serranidae) in the Abrolhos Bank, Brazil—a priority area for biodiversity conservation in the Atlantic Ocean. The team will gather baseline information from fishermen and conduct a field assessment focused on species that are known to aggregate and spawn in the Caribbean, including three red-listed species (Epinephelus itajara, Lutjanus cyanopterus and L. analis). In addition to assessing the local traditional knowledge about the aggregating species, the team will identify aggregation sites and gather data on their size, location, and physical and biological characteristics. The information gathered will be used to propose the creation of additional protected areas and/or specific regulatory measures for sites, species, and/or seasons. Patterns of spawning aggregations of West Atlantic serranids and lutjanids will be better understood, as primary information from the Brazilian Zoogeographic Province is not available in the scientific literature. This information will allow comparisons between Caribbean and Brazilian populations belonging to widespread species.

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