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Ecology of Fish Communities in Coral Habitats Along the Coast of Pakistan: Potential Threats and Conservation Strategies

Ecology of Fish Communities in Coral Habitats Along the Coast of Pakistan: Potential Threats and Conservation Strategies

 Amjad Ali1*, Pirzada Jamal Ahmad Siddiqui1, Naveed Ahmad2,Shabir Ali Amir3, Rafaqat Masroor3,Seema Shafique1 and Zaib-un-Nisa Burhan1

1Center of Excellence in Marine Biology, University of Karachi, Karachi 75270
2Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratories, Bahria University, Karachi Campus, Karachi
3Zoological Sciences Division, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, Garden Avenue, Shakarparian, Islamabad

*      Corresponding author: aalimbku@hotmail.com

ABSTRACT

Reef ecosystem is an important source of recreation and fish diversity. Present study aimed to record the distribution and diversity of fishes from different coral habitats along the coast of Pakistan. Additionally, potential threats and conservation strategies were also discussed. SCUBA diving was conducted at 10 different dive sites along the coastline. Relative abundance of the fishes was determined using visual techniques. Sea water physiochemical parameters were determined. A total of 58 fish species in 33 genera and 24 families were recorded at 10 different dive sites. High diversity occurred at Churna Island following Mubarak Village and Astola Island. Majority of the recorded fishes were planktivorous. Compare to Churna and Mubarak Village, physico-chemical parameters at Astola Island were found in limits as preferred by fish and coral communities for their proper growth. Fish accumulation appeared to be link with coral cover, diversity and growth forms. Low diversity at Astola Island was mainly due to habitat destruction caused by increasing anthropogenic activities (coral mining, careless SCUBA and skin diving, entangling of corals by fishing nets and mechanical damage by deployment of lobster pots). Conservation efforts should focus on the establishment of effective marine protected areas, involvement of different stakeholder (well reputed research institutes, universities, dive centers, tour operators, local community), making tourism laws and their implementation, rehabilitation of microhabitats for fish communities through the involvement of local community and creating awareness in general public on the significance (ecological, commercial) of these natural resources via print and electronic media for a sustainable ecotourism. Further, to better understand the effects, regular monitoring monitoring and scientific research (environmental, biological parameters) is recommended.
 

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

August

Vol. 53, Iss. 4, Pages 1201-1601

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