Overfishing is one key impact to the decline of coral reefs worldwide and a new study performed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, James Cook University, and The Australian Institute of Marine Science shows just how important fish are to the recovery of areas affected by coastal threats such as overfishing. “Reef fish play a range of important roles in the functioning of coral reef ecosystems, for example by grazing algae and controlling coral-eating invertebrates, that help to maintain the ecosystem as a whole,” said coauthor Nick Graham of James Cook University. “By linking fisheries to ecology, we can now make informed statements about ecosystem function at a given level of fish biomass.” Coastal threats such as overfishing have long been adapted to antiquated techniques so the results of this study will improve efficiency for both reef and fishermen. “The finding that gear restrictions, species selection or local customs can also contribute to fish population recovery is compelling. It demonstrates that managers can use a range of different management strategies in areas where it may not be culturally feasible to establish permanent marine reserves,” said coauthor Stacy Jupiter, WCS Melanesia Program Director. Check out the key findings here!