Allow periodic fishing only
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Allowing fishing activity in an area only for limited frequencies and durations (called periodically harvested closures) is a spatial fisheries management strategy to reduce the impacts of overfishing. They are generally locally managed, small fisheries closures that range from being mostly closed, to mostly open to fishing and are widely implemented in Indo-Pacific regions (Goetze 2016). The aims of periodically harvested closures range from conservation of biodiversity to providing benefits to fisheries through increased catches and fish productivity. Their effectiveness at increasing fish productivity may depend on their size, duration of closure and level of compliance (Goetze 2016).
Goetze J. (2016) The effectiveness of periodically harvested closures as a fisheries management strategy. PhD Thesis, The University of Western Australia, 110 pp.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2012 of six coral reef sites in a marine protected area in the Coral Sea, Vanuatu (Januchowski-Hartley et al. 2014) found that closed areas fished only periodically for a short number of days had greater biomass and fish catch rates compared to areas open to fishing and similar fish biomass to permanent no-take reserves closed to fishing for at least six years. The total fish biomass was similar between periodically fished areas (559–567 kg/ha) and no-take reserves (646–835 kg/ha) and both were greater than fished areas (331–378 kg/ha). The biomass and abundance (data not reported) of only one of three individual fish groups (two fishery target and one non-target) differed between areas and was higher in no-take reserves than the other two areas (see original paper for individual data). In addition, commercial catch rates were higher in periodically harvested closures (4 kg/fisher/hr) than regularly fished areas (2 kg/fisher/hr). Data was collected in November–December 2012 in two regions of the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area Network. Fish were surveyed by diver underwater census at two locations, each with three adjacent management zones (8 to 16 ha): a periodically fished area open for 1–3 days every 6 months (implemented since 18 months to 6 years); a no-take reserve (no fishing since 2005); and an area open permanently to fishing. At each of the six sites, divers recorded fish species and length along eight, 50 × 5 m transects, before and after harvesting in the periodically fished areas. Catch data was collected from surveys of fishers.Study and other actions tested