Study

Effects of customary marine closures on fish behaviour, spear-fishing success and underwater visual surveys

  • Published source details Feary D.A., Cinner J.E., Graham N.A.J. & Januchowski-Hartley F.A. (2010) Effects of customary marine closures on fish behaviour, spear-fishing success and underwater visual surveys. Conservation Biology, 25, 341-349.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit customary fishing (indigenous fishing for cultural and community needs)

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation

Establish long-term fishery closures

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit customary fishing (indigenous fishing for cultural and community needs)

    A site comparison study in 2008 at two reefs in the Bismark Sea, Papua New Guinea (Feary et al. 2010) found that permanent closure of areas regulated by traditional fishing rights (customary fishing) resulted in greater abundance of only one of seven species compared to fished areas after eight years, and the flight response of six species decreased. Striated surgeonfish Ctenochaetus striatus were more abundant inside closed areas compared to fished areas (closed: 47, open: 25 fish/1,000 m2), but abundances of the other six species (orange-lined triggerfish Balistapus undulatus, Bleeker’s parrotfish Chlorurus bleekeri, daisy parrotfish Chlorurus sordidus, yellowbarred parrotfish Scarus dimidiatus, dusky parrotfish Scarus niger, and humpback red snapper Lutjanus gibbus) were similar (inside: 1–31, outside: 1–14 fish/1,000 m2). In addition, flight response of all but one species (humpback red snapper) inside the closure area was shorter (closed: 131–365 cm, open: 207–551 cm) making them more vulnerable to capture by spear guns (range 1.3 to 3.1 m). Fish were surveyed on reefs off Karkar Island inside and outside one site (0.5 km2) that at the time of the study had been closed to customary fishing (using spear guns and hand lines as primary gear types) for 8 years, with the exception of a 2-week period during which it was opened to fishing for a ceremonial feast (details of when sampling took place were not reported). The community maintains a customary system of reef management where a portion of the reefs is closed for several years when the clan chiefs decide fish are staying out of the range of spear guns. Sampled reefs outside the closure area had not been closed to fishing. At five locations at each site, two, 50 × 5 m belt transects at 2–4 and 6–8 m depths were surveyed by underwater visual census. Fish flight distance was measured by placing weighted markers on a measuring tape at the start position of the fish and the final position after disturbance.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

  2. Establish long-term fishery closures

    A site comparison study in 2008 at two reefs in the Bismark Sea, Papua New Guinea (4) found that long-term closure of areas to traditional fisheries (those with customary fishing rights) resulted in greater abundance of only one of seven species compared to fished areas after eight years, and the flight response of six species decreased. Striated surgeonfish Ctenochaetus striatus were more abundant inside closed areas compared to fished areas (closed: 47, open: 25 fish/1,000 m2), but abundances of the other six species (orange-lined triggerfish Balistapus undulatus, Bleeker’s parrotfish Chlorurus bleekeri, daisy parrotfish Chlorurus sordidus, yellowbarred parrotfish Scarus dimidiatus, dusky parrotfish Scarus niger, and humpback red snapper Lutjanus gibbus) were similar (inside: 1–31, outside: 1–14 fish/1,000 m2). In addition, flight response of all but one species (humpback red snapper) inside the closure area was shorter (closed: 131–365 cm, open: 207–551 cm), making them more vulnerable to capture by spear guns (range 1.3 to 3.1 m). Fish were surveyed on reefs off Karkar Island inside and outside one site (0.5 km2) that at the time of the study had been closed to customary fishing (using spear guns and hand lines as primary gear types) for 8 years, with the exception of a 2-week period during which it was opened to fishing for a ceremonial feast (details of when sampling took place were not reported). The community maintains a customary system of reef management where a portion of the reefs is closed for several years when the clan chiefs decide fish are staying out of the range of spear guns. Sampled reefs outside the closure area had not been closed to fishing. At five locations at each site, two, 50 × 5 m belt transects at 2–4 and 6–8 m depths were surveyed by underwater visual census. Fish flight distance was measured by placing weighted markers on a measuring tape at the start position of the fish and the final position after disturbance.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

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