Enhanced numbers of two temperate reef fishes in a small, partial-take marine protected area related to spearfisher exclusion

  • Published source details Curley B.G., Glasby T.M., Curley A.J., Creese R.G. & Kingsford M.J. (2013) Enhanced numbers of two temperate reef fishes in a small, partial-take marine protected area related to spearfisher exclusion. Biological Conservation, 167, 435-445.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit spearfishing

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit spearfishing

    A site comparison study in 2002–2004 of four rocky reef areas in the Tasman Sea, New South Wales, Australia (Curley et al. 2013) found that prohibiting spearfishing inside a marine protected area for 10–12 years resulted in differences in the overall density of targeted reef fishes on shallow but not deep reefs, and individual differences in density were found for only two of seven fish species/groups compared to unprotected reference areas, and the effect varied with fish size. The densities of all sizes of commonly harvested fish differed between protected and non-protected areas at shallow but not deeper depths (data reported as statistical results). Abundance of legal sized (>200 mm), but not small red morwong Cheilodactylus fuscus was higher inside the reserve than outside at both shallow (1.3 vs 0.3/200 m2) and deep (2.8 vs 1.2/200 m2) reefs, and abundance of legal-sized (>200 mm) yellowfin bream Acanthopagrus australis was higher inside than outside at shallow reefs (0.7 vs 0.3/200 m2) but similar at deep reefs (0.2 vs 0.1/200 m2). There were no effects of protection on densities of five other groups (see paper for details of groups), but there were differences with depth and sampling time (data reported as statistical models). Spearfishing was banned in January 1992 at the Gordons Bay area (0.1 km2) of the Bronte-Coogee Aquatic Reserve. Recreational line fishing and collection of rock lobsters and bait weed were permitted but eastern blue groper Achoerodus viridis may not be taken by any method. Between November 2002–2004, fish were sampled six times by underwater visual census at one location within the reserve and three reference areas outside (10–80 km away). At each location and at two depths (<3.5 m and 4–12 m), five replicate 40 × 5 m transects were surveyed.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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