Tracking the changes of a fish community following a megascale reclamation and ensuing mitigation measures

  • Published source details Tam Y., Ni I., Yau C., Yan M., Chan W., Chan S. & Lu H. (2013) Tracking the changes of a fish community following a megascale reclamation and ensuing mitigation measures. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70, 1206-1219.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit all commercial fishing

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all commercial fishing

    A before-and-after study in 1994–2005 of a large area of soft, shelly mud seabed in the South China Sea, Hong Kong, China (Tam et al. 2013) found that after prohibiting commercial fishing in two protected marine reserves as mitigation for a large-scale land reclamation project, fish species composition in the wider region changed, overall fish density increased but species richness decreased, in the five years after implementation. Fish species composition changed in the period after both reserves were established (2001–2005) compared to before (1994–1999) (data reported as graphical analysis). Fish densities in the region were higher overall after both reserves were established than before (after: 97,000–280,000 fish/km2, before: 11,000–12,000 fish/km2), but peaked in 2003 before declining in 2004 and 2005. Over the same period, fish species richness decreased (after: 84–103, before: 127–140 species). Between December 1992 and early 1996, a huge coastal development to reclaim 9.4 km2 of land from the sea north of Lantau Island was completed in the study area. To reduce impacts on dolphin habitats, two nearby and adjacent marine reserves (12 km2 and 460 km2) were created in December 1996 and October 1999 respectively, zones of which prohibited commercial fishing and other human activities. Fish were sampled at 1–6 sites/survey in an area up to 10 km from the reclaimed land by beam trawl (total 882 deployments), annually from 1994–1995 and 1999–2005. Catch data from sampling sites, including one in the smaller of the reserves, were pooled for each year.

    (Summarised by: Natasha Taylor)

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