Partially protected marine area renders non-fishery benefits amidst high fishing pressure: a case study from eastern Philippines

  • Published source details Bobiles R.U., Soliman V.S. & Nakamura Y. (2016) Partially protected marine area renders non-fishery benefits amidst high fishing pressure: a case study from eastern Philippines. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 3, 225-233.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Control human activity in a marine protected area with a zonation system of restrictions

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation

Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Control human activity in a marine protected area with a zonation system of restrictions

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2013–2014 of two coral reef regions of the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, Australia (Bobiles et al. 2016) found that although density and biomass of fish from all feeding groups was higher at reefs in at least one of two non-fished zones (no-entry and no-take) in a marine park compared to fished zones, it varied with zone protection level and reef region. The density of only one of five fish groups (predators) was higher in non-fished zones at both of the reef regions; in two of two no-entry zones (5–6 fish/ha) and one of two no-take zones (5 fish/ha) compared to fished zones (1–3 fish/ha). For the remaining four groups in the food chain (commercially targeted and non-targeted mid-ranking predators, mobile herbivores and territorial grazers) fish density was higher in non-fished zones at one reef region only, and only at one of either the no-entry or no-take zones. Higher fish biomasses for all groups were similarly recorded in at least one no-entry or no-take zone across both regions, but the reef region it was reported in varied (see original paper for individual data). Between February–April in 2013 and 2014, two different regions of the Great Barrier Reef were surveyed by underwater visual census, six reefs (two/management zone) in the Ribbon Reef region (~50 km2) and nine reefs (three/management zone) in the Swains Reef region (~100 km2). Management zones allowed different activities: no-entry zones closed to all human activities, no­-take zones that prohibited extractive activities (fishing) but permitted diving and boating, and fished zones open to fishing and general use. Fish were surveyed by trophic groups: two 45-minute timed swims for top predators; 50 × 10 m wide transects for mid-ranking predators and mobile herbivores; and 50 × 2 m wide transects for territorial grazers. Biomass was calculated using length-weight relationships. Duration of protection in no-take and no-entry zones ranged from 11–27 years.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

  2. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A site comparison study in 2009–2014 of a coral reef area off San Miguel Island in the Philippine Sea, Philippines (Bobiles et al. 2016) found more fish species and a higher overall fish abundance of commercially important fish in a no-entry/no-fishing zone of a marine protected area, compared to two partially fished zones and unprotected fished areas 10 to 15 years after implementation, and the effect of protection varied between individual species groups and sizes. Across all years, the average species richness and fish abundance of commercially important species was higher inside the no-entry zone (species: 11–12, abundance: 28–41 fish/transect) than elsewhere and was similar between partially fished protected zones (species: 3–8, abundance: 5–30 fish/transect) and non-protected fished areas (species: 4–7, abundance: 10–15 fish/transect). For the top six commercial fish family groups, the abundance of market-sized individuals of five groups differed between areas, whereas for non-target sizes only one differed (see paper for individual data). The San Miguel Island Marine Protected Area was designated in 1998 and has three zones with different levels of protection: a 1.0 km2 sanctuary area (no fishing or recreational activity), a 1.25 km2 partially protected area (traditional fishing types - gillnet, spear, trap, longline - permitted), and an outer 100 m buffer protected zone with less restriction (not specified). In May 2009 and 2010 and December 2014, fish were surveyed in each of the three zones and the adjacent unprotected area by underwater visual census along a total of 10 haphazardly placed transects (50 m2) at least 10 m apart. Transects were located at reefs 1.3 km offshore and at depths of 9–21 m.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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