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First records of fish species at the Chesterfield-Bellona reef complex in the Coral Sea Marine Park
The Chesterfield-Bellona atolls and reefs are a vast reef complex located in the Coral Sea Marine Park, established in 2014 in the New Caledonian Economic Exclusive Zone. In 2013, the New Caledonia government supported the first assessment of fish and benthic habitats conducted over the entire area. The assessment provided a primary knowledge base for establishing the importance of these atolls in terms of biodiversity and fished resources. This comprehensive survey relied on an unbaited underwater video technique that enabled to collect 185 successful camera drops distributed over all shallow habitats in the atolls.
Video analysis revealed 18 fish species that had not been previously reported in this area. These included commercially important species: two species of snapper (Lutjanus monostigma and Lutjanus rivulatus) and an emperor (Lethrinus atkinsoni). Most of the new species observed displayed relatively low occurrences (< 5 individuals over 185 camera drops). They were observed in three habitats: i) live coral-dominated; ii) debris-dominated; and iii) sandy bottoms.
Reference of the survey: CHESTERFIELD-BELLONA 2013: http://dx.doi.org/10.17600/18002030
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Forcipiger longirostris (longnose butterflyfish)
Aluterus scriptus (scrawled filefish)
Arothron hispidus (bristly puffer, stripebelly puffer, white-spotted puffer)
Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus (yellowmargin triggerfish)
Chilomycterus reticulatus (spotfin burrfish)
Hologymnosus annulatus (ring wrasse)
Lutjanus monostigma (one-spot snapper)
Lutjanus rivulatus (blubberlip snapper)
Paracanthurus hepatus (palette surgeonfish)
Balistoides viridescens (titan triggerfish)
Carangoides orthogrammus (island trevally)
-18.34635N, -22.230287S, 159.790588E, 157.791076W
2013/01/01 - 2013/01/01
These images were collected during the AMBIO project, "Marine Protected Area, Biodiversity, World Heritage", conceived and lead by the Lagoons, Ecosystems and Sustainable Aquaculture Research Unit of the IFREMER Delegation of New Caledonia. AMBIO was funded by the Government of New Caledonia, the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels de Nouvelle-Calédonie, the North Province, the South Province, the Loyalty Province and IFREMER. It was co-funded by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (Convention HC / 2100903999 - IFREMER 12/1210366 / CF). Project lead: Dominique Pelletier.