The Northern Reefs program, which began back in 2013, is a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the communities and leaders of Kayangel and Ngarchelong and has resulted in different management measures including size limits on key species such as coral trout (Tiau) and other commercially important species based on data collected by fishermen and researchers alike.
Five years after the Northern Reef Fisheries Management Plan and policy was implemented, TNC and the Northern States of Kayangel and Ngarchelong are continuing to work together to conduct a thorough stock assessment of reef fish using traditional knowledge and modern science. The purpose of this stock assessment is to assess the impact of policy and management measures on the resources and to provide traditional leaders and state policy-makers with information needed to make necessary decisions to improve fisheries management measures to ensure the health of the reefs and fish stocks for the future.
Dr. Alex Filous, a fisheries scientist from the University of Hawaii, will be leading the stock assessment work with key members of the communities in the Northern Reef States with support from the Northern Reef Fisheries Cooperative. Currently, Alex and his team are collecting data from fishers in the North and looking at catch data, assessing fishing methods and, in time, will provide that information to the community so they can best manage their ocean resources.
The long-term goal of this project is to establish a monitoring program to help capture an accurate representation of the current health of the fish stocks and using that data to support management decisions.