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The average total biomass of nearshore fishes at Isla del Coco National Park was 7.8 tonnes per hectare, with apex predators (sharks, jacks, and groupers) accounting for 40% of the total biomass.
AUTHORS: Friedlander, A.M., Zgliczynski, B.J., Ballesteros, E., Aburto-Oropeza, O., Bolaños, A. and Sala, E.
DATE: September 2012
At Isla del Coco National Park, Costa Rica, the fishes were surveyed as part of a larger scientific expedition. Over half the species and 90% of the individuals observed were endemic to the tropical eastern Pacific. The average total biomass of nearshore fishes was 7.8 tonnes per hectare with apex predators (sharks, jacks, and groupers) accounting for 40% of the total biomass. While these numbers demonstrate the potential for high biomass in unfished tropical ecosystems, the abundance of hammerhead and reef whitetip sharks have been declining since the late 1990’s. One Galapagos shark was tagged inside Isla del Coco National Park: it moved 255 km towards Malpelo Island, Colombia, before it stopped transmitting. This finding supported large-scale movements for sharks and emphasized the need for regional-scale management. Cited 23 times and accessed 2,000 times, this study demonstrated the urgency to preserve such a global biodiversity hotspot and to push for effective management across the region.