top of page
Fish Lavae Monitoring BICA Roatan


Reef fishes are one of the major functional groups of reef ecosystems, contributing to maintaining the stability and resilience of these ecosystems.

Virtually all of the thousands of tropical reef fish species have a larval stage that spends weeks to months in the open ocean before returning to the reef to settle. This transition from pelagic larvae to settled juveniles is a very important time for the fishes that make up the reef. During this settlement transition, which usually occurs on moonless nights, larvae must make critical decisions: they need to select suitable habitat, avoid ubiquitous predators, and change their shape and color to live on the reef.

0318_Coral Reef Allianze.jpg
Fish Lavae Monitoring BICA Roatan

Why do we do it?

Currently there is no baseline information on the listing of reef fish in their larval stage. It is important to establish a baseline for research on the spatial and temporal patterns, composition and abundance of fish larvae and post-larvae that reach the reefs. It is of vital importance to know all the stages of marine life that inhabit Roatan, since it is the second largest barrier reef in the world, with more than 1,000 km of extension, forming part of the Mesoamerican Reef. Taking into account that each species that surrounds us plays a special ecosystemic role for the reef and the ocean.  This project is in its culminating stage of identification for the elaboration of a catalog of reef larval fish species.

Therefore, taxa monitoring is being carried out, thus contributing to a better understanding of the use of the reef zone and ultimately to the management and conservation actions of the marine protected area. These preliminary results, product of first efforts in Roatan Honduras, show the work still to be done for the understanding of reef fish recruitment processes.

Fish Lavae Monitoring BICA Roatan

What are we doing?

In 2014, the project of taxonomic identification of reef fish larvae began, through the Mesoamerican Connectivity Exercise (ECOME), where nets were placed to capture reef fish larvae, with the participation of the countries that are part of the Mesoamerican Reef System (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras). 

In the case of Roatán, it began in the Sandy Bay - West End Marine Special Protection Zone of the Islas de la Bahía National Marine Park in the municipality of Roatán, where nets were placed to capture reef larvae. Subsequently, in 2015 it was extended to the island of Utila.
Currently, the collection of fish larvae is carried out annually when the ECOME takes place.

How you can help?

Join BICA Roatan

Join us!

Join our

Volunteer Team

Contact u at



Donate to BICA to continue with these activities

Donate Here

Fish Lavae Monitoring BICA Roatan


A total of 2506 larval specimens were recorded in 2015. The families Scaridae, Engraulidae, Clupeidae, Monocanthidae accounted for 64.7% of the total abundance; 27% of the larvae were not identified because of their small size and/or because they were damaged, and the remaining 8.3% were represented by twenty-one families (Acanthuridae, Albulidae, Apogonidae, Atherinidae, Bregmacerotidae, Callionymidae, Carangidae, Chaenopsidae, Dactyloscopidae, Gerreidae, Gobiesocidae, Gobiidae, Labridae, Labrisomidae, Opistognathus, Ophidiidae, Pomacentridae, Scorpaenidae, Serranidae, Scaridae, Tetraodontidae).
This with the technical collaboration of Dr. Lourdes Vásquez from the Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR) of Mexico, from the University of PLYMOUTH of Canada, by sending tissue samples for genetic studies.

This study has established for the first time a database of larval and post-larval fish entering the SBWE-SMPZ. The Sandy Bay - West End Special Marine Protection Zone contains important topographical features that facilitate the recruitment of commercial and ecologically important species of fish larvae.

Ways to Give

Join us in protecting the stunning marine and coastal biodiversity of the Bay Islands in Honduras by supporting our conservation efforts and safeguarding the future of our oceans for generations to come.


Have you ever wondered what else you could buy for your $5 morning cup of coffee? 


Find their links below and know that shopping with them contributes to our success

Fish Lavae Monitoring BICA Roatan
bottom of page