Designate a Marine Protected Area and only allow hook and line fishing
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
‘Hook and line’ fishing is a term used for a range of fishing methods that use short fishing lines with hooks. Hook and line fishing is more selective than other types of fishing and has little impact on the seabed. In addition, bycatch species can often be returned to the sea alive because the lines are only in place for a short time. These methods also reduce the direct contact with the seabed, any unintentional physical harm and disturbances, and reduce the amount of bycatch. Specific areas can be designated as protected, and specific management measures taken to control for fishing gears. Inside protected areas where only hook and line fishing is allowed, the threat from these practices to subtidal benthic invertebrates is removed, and previously impacted populations are, in theory, able to recover over time.
When this intervention occurred outside of a protected area, evidence has been summarised under “Threat: Biological resource use – Use hook and line fishing instead of other fishing methods”.
Moland E., Olsen E.M., Knutsen H., Garrigou P., Espeland S.H., Kleiven A.R., André C. & Knutsen J.A. (2013) Lobster and cod benefit from small-scale northern marine protected areas: inference from an empirical before–after control-impact study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280, 1754.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2006–2010 in six areas of seabed off the Norwegian Skagerrak coast (Moland et al. 2013) found that, during the four years after being designated, protected areas only allowing hook and line fishing had greater increases in the number and size of European lobster Homarus gammarus, compared to fully fished areas. Before designation, lobster abundance (as catch/unit effort) was typically similar in all areas (protected: 0.5 lobster/trap; fully fished areas: 0.5–1.5 lobsters/trap). Over time, abundance increased at all sites, but increased more in protected areas, and after four years had increased by 245% in protected areas, (1–3 lobsters/trap), but only by 87% in fully fished areas (0.5–2.5 lobsters/trap). Before designation, lobster size was similar across areas (protected: 23–24 cm; fully fished: 24–25 cm). Over time, size increased at all sites, but more in the protected areas, and after four years had increased by 12–15% (26–28 cm), but only by 3% in fully fished areas (24–25 cm). In September 2006, three marine protected areas only allowing hook and line fishing were established. Annually in 2006–2010, lobsters were sampled inside each protected area and at three fully fished areas (no gear restriction; one adjacent to each protected area) using traps (25/area) deployed at 10–30 m depth. After 24 h, all lobsters in traps were counted and measured (carapace length). Traps were redeployed daily over four days.Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperMoland E., Olsen E.M., Knutsen H., Garrigou P., Espeland S.H., Kleiven A.R., André C. & Knutsen J.A. (2013) Lobster and cod benefit from small-scale northern marine protected areas: inference from an empirical before–after control-impact study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280, 20122679