Delimiting spawning areas of reef fishes in Vietnam’s marine reserves

Coral reef is estimated to cover over 284,300 km2, with Southeast Asia accounting for 32.2%. Coral reefs are home for more than 4,000 tropical fishes and fishes living in coral reef with high economic values, such as groupers (Serranidae), snappers (Lutjannidae), and emperors (Lethrinidae).Increasing demand on the global fresh fish consumption market leads to the exploitation and extermination of fishes most coastal coral reefs, which are spawning areas. Hot spots for fishing exploitation are concentrated in places where large number of fish spawn. The use of destructive fishing methods such as explosives and xyanua destroys spawning areas of coral reef fishes and increases the danger of severe decline in fish larva providing resources to nearby reefs.



To protect, restore and develop aquatic resources, in the framework of VAST-level projects in 2009-2010, a group of researchers led by Dr. Nguyen Van Quan and his coordinators from the Institute of Natural Resources and Environment conducted a project on delimiting spawning areas of reef fishes in Vietnam’s marine reserves in order to improve the effect of management of coastal aquatic resources (focus on marine reserves) in the direction of approaching ecosystem sustainably.


The map on research places


The study focus on accessing natural elements and environment related to the establishment of spawning areas in coral reefs in several key reserves (Hai Van – Son Cha, Thua Thien Hue and Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa); the investigation in productive biology habit of coral reef fishes in study areas; the investigation, assessment and analysis of elements affected by natural and human activities on the existence at spawning areas and research in several management solution to spawning areas of coral reef fishes, to maintain and sustainably develop natural resources in marine reserves.

In 2009 and 2010, the group of researchers made six field trips to collect samples and documents in two places, including Hai Van – Son Cha and Nha Trang Gulf, to ensure representative characteristics in the year. The method of research is to apply process and norm on the investigation in studying Vietnam’s marine and other modern studying methods in coral reefs in the world, which was first applied in Delf 3D model in researching the spread of fish larva in reserves. The study obtained remarkable results after two years of research.

On science, the study accessed the general environmental and natural conditions to establish spawning areas of coral reef fishes at Hai Van-Son Cha marine reserve in Thua Thien – Hue province and Nha Trang gulf in Khanh Hoa province through studying parent fishes participating in reproduction, conditions in habitation areas and food sources for fish larva. Apart from defining factors determining parent fishes to focus breeding in spawning areas, the study also defined season of coral reef fishes in dry months in year with seven spawning areas in the two marine reserves.



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                          The first phase                           The couple phase



The spawning phase


Reproductive activity of grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Bai De cape, northeast Hon Tre island, Nha Trang gulf marine reserve)


On application, results of the study are highly applicable with the establishment of marine reserves in Vietnam. Spawning areas of coral reef fishes are one of several extremely important ecological indicators to divide management function of reserve, and is an important foundation to determine areas of core region in marine reserves. Results of the study on biological characteristics of parent fishes and reproductive seasons will help managers at reserves or agencies in the aquatic sector make plans for banning or restricting exploitation in areas in certain months of the year, to create conditions to natural resources have time to reproduce and improve the fishing yield of coastal fishing exploitation.The study of spawning areas of coral reef fishes is essential and has significance in preserving marine resources. The study also plays a practical role with the management board of reserves in proposing effective management methods at spawning areas, complete scientific foundation for the norm on selecting position for marine reserves in Vietnam.


Translated by Tuyet Nhung


Link to Vietnamese Version

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