Organizers: Andrew Chin1, Johann Mourier2, Vanessa Jaiteh3 & Yannis Papastamatiou4

Affiliations: 1/ James Cook University; 2/ CRIOBE – USR 3278 CNRS EPHE UPVD, PSL, Labex Corail, Moorea, French Polynesia & Macquarie University; 3/ Murdoch University; 4/ Florida International University

Email: andrew.chin@jcu.edu.au; johann.mourier@gmail.com; vanessa.jaiteh@hotmail.com; ypapastamatiou@flmnh.ufl.edu

Lead contact: Andrew Chin

Description: Large predatory fishes are vital to coastal and pelagic ecosystems across the Indo-Pacific. They form important, high value fisheries that are nationally and regionally significant, and are purported to play important ecological roles through top-down control. Some larger predators such as billfishes, sharks and rays are also iconic species with important cultural values, and icons for recreation and tourism. This symposium will provide a picture of the varied biological and ecological characteristics, values, and roles of large predatory fishes in the Indo-Pacific, and discuss their place in ecosystems and societies. Specifically, the session will present the latest research on the biology and ecology, conservation and management of large predatory fishes, and explore their diverse values and roles in ecosystems and societies across the Indo-Pacific. As an inter-disciplinary session, research areas will include the spatial ecology, movement and migration, life history, trophodynamics, fisheries science, and social, cultural and economic aspects of large predatory fishes. The session will also discuss new techniques for studying large predator biology, ecology and movement, as well as emerging research areas and future research needs. As an interdisciplinary session, the symposium will help researcher situate their work within a regional context. The four session chairs will also bring together researchers from across the Indo-Pacific to help connect and inform those working on large predatory fishes across the Indo-Pacific region about the latest developments and projects, and to create opportunities to develop new regional collaborations.

Expected Audience: As this symposium is an interdisciplinary session that includes work on iconic species, we anticipate a large audience of presenters and well as a lot of interest from students. While attracting traditional ichthyologists working in ecology, life history and fisheries science, the symposium scope also invites participation from fisheries and MPA managers, and opens opportunities for presenters from less traditional fields such as social science to attend the meeting. The session topics have been specifically selected to cover a wide research field, but where all research elements are inter-related and connected by being parts of the same problems and issues facing large predatory fishes. This cross-disciplinarity is a key feature of this symposium in order to encourage and progress the inter-disciplinary collaborations and methodological approaches needed to address complex challenges and issues facing these fishes. The symposium chairs work in different locations across the Indo-Pacific (Australia, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Palau, and the Hawaiian Islands) and this diversity is designed to facilitate effective promotion of the event across the region, and to encourage wide research participation. Based on previous experience at the 2012 and 2016 International coral Reef Symposium meetings, we anticipate an audience of between 40 and 50 attendees.