Home > Explore Data & Reports > The ecological basis of fishery yield of the Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands insular shelf: 1987 assessment


Jacobsen, T., and J.A. Browder. 2006. The ecological basis of fishery yield of the Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands insular shelf: 1987 assessment. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 26. Silver Spring, MD. 189 pp.

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A literature review was conducted to locate information on the flow of energy from primary producers to the fishery stocks of the Puerto Rican-Virgin Islands insular shelf. This report uses site-specific information to describe the major ecological subsystems, or habitats, of the region, to identify the more common species and the subsystems in which they occur, to quantify productivity and biomass, and to outline trophic relationships. Discussions on each topic and subsystem vary in substance and detail, being limited by the availability and accessibility of information. Seven distinct subsystems are described: mangrove estuary, seagrass bed, coral reef, algal plain, sand/mud bottom, shelf break, and overlying pelagic. Over 50 tables provide lists of species found in each habitat on various surveys dating back to 1956. Estimates of density, relative abundance, and productivity are provided when possible. We evaluated whether sufficient information exists to support an analysis of the energy basis of fishery production in the area, beginning with the design and development of an ecosystem model. Data needs in three categories - species lists, biomass, and trophic relations - were examined for each subsystem and for each of three species groups - primary producers, invertebrates, and fish. We concluded that adequate data, sufficient for modeling purposes, are available in 16 (25%) of 64 categories; limited data, those requiring greater extrapolation, are available in 35 (55%) categories; and no data are available in 13 (20%) categories. The best-studied subsystems are seagrass beds and coral reefs, with at least limited data in all categories. Invertebrates, the intermediate link in the food web between primary producers and fishes, are the least quantified group in the region. Primary production and fishes, however, are relatively well-studied, providing sufficient data to support an ecosystem-level analysis and to initiate a modeling effort.

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