7 Nov 2013

Warning of loss of crucial fisheries if Solomons island logged

2:50 pm on 7 November 2013

A marine biologist is warning that unless logging is banned from the last area of pristine forest in Solomon Islands' Isabel province, local people will lose fish they rely on for food and income.

The Nature Conservancy has produced research into juvenile topa or bumphead parrotfish in the Kia district linking sediment from logging with the destruction of lagoonal fringing reefs.

The group's Richard Hamilton says many juvenile fish species settle there, moving to the outer reefs as they mature.

He says a naturally high sediment loading is kept in check by mangroves but extra loading from logging kills the coral.

"So even if you've got healthy populations on those outer reefs, if you're destroying those critical nursery habitats, there's no potential to regenerate those fisheries, you've essentially knocked off that production cycle at the very early phase."

Richard Hamilton says previously the decline in topa fish numbers was presumed to be due to overfishing.