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Fish identification tools for biodiversity and fisheries assessments

Review and guidance for decision-makers










Fischer, J. ed. 2013. Fish identification tools for biodiversity and fisheries assessments: review and guidance for decision-makers. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 585. Rome, FAO. 2013. 107 pp.


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    FAO FishFinder is dedicated to improving fi sh identi fi cati on everywhere and collaborates with taxonomic experts from around the world. In forty years FAO FishFinder has produced over 200 identi fi cati on guides for commercially-exploited aquati c species and has compiled a unique and important archive of more than 40 000 scienti fi c illustrati ons as well as distributi on maps, taxonomic descripti ons, biological and fi sheries informati on on over 8 000 species. FAO Fish Finder is dedicated to improving fish identification everywhere and collaborates with taxonomic experts from around the world. In forty years FAO FishFinder has produced over 200 identification guides for commercially-exploited aquatic species and has compiled a unique and important archive of more than 40 000 scientific illustrations as well as distribution maps, taxonomic descriptions, biological and fisheries information on over 8 000 species. The tools developed by FAO Fish Finder are essential for the implementation of sound sampling and reporting schemes for fisheries and biodiversity assessments and for fishery catch statistics.
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    This pocket guide is the first species identification tool for marine fishery resources in Liberia and was produced based on information collected by the author during a field trip to Liberia in January 2013. The 36 species included were selected because of primary importance for the coastal marine fisheries in the country. It should be noted that there are many more marine species exploited by coastal fisheries in Liberia than could not be included here. The format of the pocket guide was devel oped for use by non-taxonomists and to facilitate communication with practitioners (fishers and marketers). For this purpose, the FishFinder Programme assigns great importance to species local names. Here, the most common local Liberian name of a species is prioritized; additional names in use are also listed by the location in which they were encountered. Users of this pocket guide should be aware that the same local name often applies to several species and that one species may be known by mor e than one local name (where known to the author, this is indicated on the cards). To aid in quick identification, the pocket guide includes a colour-coded grouping of species based on simple morphological characteristics (fins) as well as symbols for maximum sizes, ecological preferences and catch methods.
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    Commercially important sea cucumbers of the world 2023
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    Sea cucumbers are harvested and traded in more than 90 countries worldwide. They are exploited in industrial and small-scale fisheries, nearly from pole to pole, especially in the tropics. In some fisheries, more than 20 species are exploited by fishers. Fishers in general know how to distinguish the species they harvest, often identifying them with local names. For fishery officers and even biologists, recognizing sea cucumber species remains daunting however as they are confronted only with the final product: bêche-de-mer (or trepang) which is the processed (cooked and dried) product. This field guide offers a tool for fishery managers, scientists, trade officers and industry workers to recognize live and processed (cooked and dried) animals. This animal resource is mainly exported to Asian markets where it is sold mainly, but not exclusively, as a luxury food item. This book provides identification information on 84 species of sea cucumbers that are commonly or opportunistically (as bycatch) exploited around the world. The list is certainly not all-encompassing, as some other sea cucumber species are also exploited. More scientific data and accounts are needed for species from some regions such as the Eastern Atlantic Ocean. The accounts are based on more than 270 reports and research articles and on comments and reviews by taxonomists and field workers. Two-page identification sheets provide selected information to enable similar species to be distinguished from each other, both in the live and processed (dried) forms. Where available, the following information for each species has been included: scientific and known common names used in different countries and regions; scientific illustrations of the body and ossicles; descriptions of ossicles present in different body parts; a colour photograph of live and dried specimens; basic information on size, habitat, biology, fisheries, human consumption, market value and trade; geographic distribution maps. The volume is fully indexed and contains an introduction, a glossary, simplified dichotomous keys to live animals and dried products and a dedicated bibliography. Readers are encouraged to base their identifications on a combination of morphological features, samples of ossicles from different body parts and information on what habitat and locality the species was found.

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