The juvenile fish community associated with natural, degraded and replanted Sonneratia alba mangroves in Gazi Bay was sampled during the South East and North East monsoons between April 2002 and June 2003. A total of 1800 individuals belonging to 49 taxa and 34 families were collected from the intertidal forest using stake nets. Fish abundance ranged from 0.93 ± 0.20 ind. m −2 (SEM02) to 1.16 ± 0.18 ind. m −2 (SEM03) between seasons and between 0.54 ± 0.07 ind. m −2 and 1.64 ± 0.33 ind. m −2 for individual sites across seasons. Five taxa accounted for approximately 70% of the total fish abundance, with Gobidae and Gerres oyena dominating. ANOSIM revealed seasonal differences in fish species composition and abundance ( p = 0.01) due to fluctuating abundances of primarily Terapon sp. and Thryssa sp. The majority (65%) of fishes were reef associates, which implies a tight coupling between mangroves and coral reefs. The high proportion (75%) of commercial species indicates that fringing S. alba mangroves of Gazi Bay are important in sustaining coastal fisheries in the area. The fact that the replanted mangroves of Gazi Bay harbor a significant number of commercially important species as juveniles suggest their function as nursery habitats for nekton may well have been restored. This study is original in quantitatively evaluating the use of replanted intertidal mangroves by juvenile fish in the West Indian Ocean; a topic poorly studied worldwide to date.
Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2007
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