Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures


Status of the Fish Community of the Turks and Caicos Islands: Results from the Atlantic & Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment (AGRRA)

Event Name/Location

9th International Coral Reef Symposium, Bali, Indonesia, October 23-27, 2000

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Coral reef fish communities were surveyed at 28 sites in the vicinity of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and the Mouchoir Bank in August 1999, using the AGRRA protocol. This study provides the results of the first systematic census of fish communities in TCI, which are located at the southeastern extent of the Bahamian Archipelago. Two census methods were employed for this study. Belt transects was used to determine abundance and size distribution for selected fish families and Roving Diver Technique was used to measure overall fish diversity and density. The surveys revealed that TCI have a healthy reef fish community with a total of 43 species recorded in transects and 120 species by Roving Diver Technique surveys. Comparison among the locations (Grand Turk, South Caicos, West Caicos, Providenciales and the Mouchoir Bank) revealed that West Caicos had higher fish density, larger size of fishes and higher species richness than other locations. In contrast, the Mouchoir Bank has lower density and smaller size in most fish families with the lowest species richness. High fishing pressures there appeared to have impacted the fish community structure. The overall results suggest that current fishing pressure is generally low in TCI, and coral size and diversity appear to play an important role in structuring the fish community.


poster presentation

abstract found on pg. 357



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