Capstone Title

Determining Indicators and Methods to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Southern Belize

Defense Date

12-2004

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

David Gilliam

Second Advisor

Richard E. Spieler

Abstract

Port Honduras Marine Reserve (PHMR). Southern Belize was established in 2000. The goals and objectives of PHMR focus on sustaining fish populations within the reserve and providing non-destructive tourism. Guided by the PHMR management plan, six indicators of management effectiveness were defined to be focused on during future monitoring efforts. The six indicators for PHMR are: commercial fish abundance. Commercial fish density, commercial fish size distribution, fish species richness, stony coral percent coverage, and stony coral species richness. The accurate measurement of these indicators is critical for properly determining management effectiveness. Thus, a review of research comparing six underwater visual census (UVC) methods was done to determine the best-suited and most effective methods for measuring the indicators. For the benthos a Linear Point Intercept (LPI), Linear Percentage, and Belt Quadrat method were reviewed. A Roving Diver Technique (RDT), Stationary Sampling Technique (SST) and Belt Transect (BT) method were reviewed for fish populations. In addition to quantitative findings, qualitative factors (e.g. cost of using the method, regional usage, and training) were also considered. A scorecard was developed to evaluate the quantitative and qualitative factors. For determining the management effectiveness of PHMR, the LPI method was recommended for the benthic indicators, combined with a BT method and RDT for fish indicators.

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