Larger biomass of targeted reef fish in no-take marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • Published source details Evans R.D. & Russ G.R. (2004) Larger biomass of targeted reef fish in no-take marine reserves on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 14, 505-519.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2001–2002 of three coral reef areas in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Coral Sea, Australia (Evans & Russ 2004) found that prohibiting all fishing in protected areas resulted in a higher biomass and density of two fish species targeted by commercial line fisheries after 14 years, and similar densities of two fish species not targeted by commercial fisheries, compared to nearby fished areas. Biomass and density in the no fishing areas was higher for the commercially fished coral trout Plectropomus spp. >35 cm (biomass: 6.6 kg/1,000 m2; density: 3 fish/1,000 m2) and Spanish flag snapper Lutjanus carponotatus >25 cm (biomass: 5 kg/1,000 m2; density: 14 fish/1,000 m2) than fished areas (coral trout: biomass; 1.3 kg/1,000 m2, density; 1 fish/1,000 m2; Spanish flag snapper: biomass; 2 kg/1,000 m2, density; 1 fish/1,000 m2). The density in the no fishing areas was not significantly different for the non–fished species scribbled rabbitfish Siganus doliatus (9 fish/1,000 m2) and golden butterflyfish Chaetodon aureofasciatus (19 fish/1,000 m2) compared to fished areas (rabbitfish; 13 fish/1,000 m2, butterflyfish: 19 fish/1,000 m2). Fish counts and size estimates were recorded by underwater visual surveys between December 2001–October 2002 at three no fishing reserves around the Palm, Whitsunday and Keppel Islands (spanning 600 km of the Great Barrier reef, no fishing for 14 years). Five replicate 50 × 6 m transects were randomly selected at six to 12 sites per protected and fished area, 200–400 km apart from each other.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

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