TitleProtected areas and benthic characteristics influence the distribution of the Vulnerable bumphead parrotfishBolbometopon muricatumin the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsPatankar V, Wagh T, Marathe A
Date Published07/2020

The Vulnerable bumphead parrotfishBolbometopon muricatum, a highly prized fishery resource worldwide, has experienced population declines throughout its geographical range. There is limited knowledge of the distribution and abundance of, and threats to, this fish in Indian waters, particularly for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. To assess the species' distribution and conservation status we conducted underwater surveys across 75 sites around 51 islands and interviewed 99 fishers across the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. We recorded a total of 59 individualB. muricatumacross nine sites from the northernmost island in the Andamans (Landfall Island) to the southernmost island in the Nicobars (Great Nicobar Island). Interviews revealed that most fishers (100% in Nicobar, 94% in Middle Andaman, 62% in South Andaman) had seenB. muricatum, and knowledge of the species is highest amongst spearfishers. Generalized linear models indicated that presence of marine protected areas and high live coral cover influenced the abundance and distribution ofB. muricatum. The species' density seems to be naturally low in the archipelago. We discuss our findings in the light of protecting rare and threatened species, and recommend strengthening the existing marine protected areas in these islands.