EXPLORING FALSE BAY’S UNDERWATER FAUNA USING BRUVS
Lauren de Vos talks about the importance of fish surveys for conservation.
For a girl raised on and inspired by red African soil, it’s a bit of a journey down to the ocean. However, an innate curiosity and passion for our wildest spaces ultimately led me to that great blue wilderness: the ocean. An Honours degree in Zoology, completed at the coast, instilled in me an understanding of the challenges faced by our underwater realm, and an MSc in Conservation Biology opened my eyes to the need for sound scientific research to inform conservation decisions. In the end, I was inspired to explore possible solutions … and as far as office-spaces go, the ocean is a pretty inspiring place to work.
With an inshore fishery that has been exploited for over 200 years, many species in South African waters, from sharks and rays to bony fish, are in serious decline. Sufficient understanding of the conservation status of these species is essential if we are to address this situation. However, very few species are actually adequately monitored because the costs and logistics of doing so impede the sustainability of these efforts. South Africa’s marine protected area (MPA) network relies on fish surveys as a means to understand how effective our protected areas are in achieving biodiversity conservation goals. Developing a more cost-effective, time- and labour-efficient method of surveying fish species is integral to ensuring that monitoring is sustainable along the South African coastline, in the long-term.
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