Tag species to prevent illegal fishing or harvesting

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of tagging species to prevent illegal fishing or harvesting on subtidal benthic invertebrates. The study examined the effects on the Californian abalone fishery (USA).





  • Behaviour-change (1 study): One before-and-after study in California found no significant reduction in non-compliance with daily quotas of abalones after introducing tagging regulations.


  • Illegal catch (1 study): One before-and-after study in California found no significant reduction in illegal takes of abalones after introducing tagging regulations.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study in 2007 and 2011 of fishers surveyed across 11 sites in northern California, USA (Lewis 2015) found that introducing tagging regulation did not reduce overall illegal takes of red abalone Haliotis rufescens. Tagging led to a 4% reduction in illegal takes of abalone, but this was not statistically significant. Of the seven categories of illegal takes considered, only non-compliance with daily-take quotas significantly reduced (before tagging: 32%; after tagging: 19%), particularly amongst local fishers (before: 72%; after: 43%). The other six categories were not significantly reduced (see paper for details). Red abalone tagging regulation was introduced in California between 2007 and 2011 (date unspecified). Over five weeks in August–September 2007 and 2011, fishers at 11 sites where abalone harvest is restricted were asked to respond to a set questionnaire regarding their compliance to each of seven regulations. Proportional non-compliance across fishers was estimated for each regulation and overall.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

What Works 2021 cover

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