Fiji Butterflyfish Count Results

ButterflyfishLast August I announced the Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count organized by the Fiji Government Departments of Tourism, Environment, and Fisheries, Tourism Fiji, and several reef conservation organizations to mark the International Year of the Reef. The count was held from November 2 to 8, 2008, with participants asked to record the number of butterflyfish they saw over a 30-minute period during any normal snorkel, glass-bottom boat, or dive trip in Fiji.

Overall the count had a high number of participants who helped make it a success. Throughout the country, the numbers of butterflyfish found were higher than expected, especially in the western and southern Islands. There were regional differences, with one butterflyfish species dominating in the northern region, another in the west, and different ones on the outer islands. The organizers were pleased to verify that Fiji's butterflyfish biodiversity is high, and assume that this reflects the good condition of the reefs around the islands. The differences illustrate that there are different reef types in different regions, and scientists believe that this is helping Fiji's reef resilience and resistance to harmful events, which is good news for the future of Fiji's corals.

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