Allow periodic fishing only

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • One study examined the effects of allowing fishing only periodically in an area on marine fish populations. The study was in the Coral Sea (Vanuatu).



  • Abundance (1 study): One replicated, paired, site comparison study in the Coral Sea found that protected areas fished only for short periods over an 18 month to six-year period, had greater biomass than openly fished areas and similar fish biomass as areas permanently closed to fishing for six years.



  • Catch abundance (1 study): One replicated, paired, site comparison study in the Coral Sea found that protected areas only fished for short periods over an 18 month to six year period, had higher fish catch rates than openly fished areas.

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 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
Please cite as:

Taylor, N., Clarke, L.J., Alliji, K., Barrett, C., McIntyre, R., Smith, R.K., and Sutherland, W.J. (2021) Marine Fish Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Selected Interventions. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Marine Fish Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marine Fish Conservation
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