Local fishing influences coral reef fish behavior inside protected areas of the Indo-Pacific

  • Published source details Januchowski-Hartley F.A., Graham N.A.J., Cinner J.E. & Russ G.R. (2015) Local fishing influences coral reef fish behavior inside protected areas of the Indo-Pacific. Biological Conservation, 182, 8-12.


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, site comparison study in 2009–2011 of 23 coral reef sites spanning four regions in the Pacific Ocean (Phillipines, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu) and Indian Ocean (Chagos) (Januchowski-Hartley et al. 2015) found that surgeonfish and parrotfish inside established marine protected areas where fishing was banned showed the same pattern of increasing avoidance behaviour (measured as flight initiation distance) with increasing fishing intensity in the locality, compared to fish in fished areas. Flight initiation distance increased in both non-fished and fished sites with increasing local fishing pressure levels (lowest to highest) for surgeonfish Acanthuridae spp. (from 155 to 222 cm in non-fished areas and 270 to 408 cm in fished) and parrotfish Scaridae spp. (from 211 to 279 cm in non-fished areas and 332 to 537 cm in fished). In 2009–2011 thirteen sites protected from fishing through permanent no-take reserves or traditional management closures (reserve size or year of implementation were not reported) and 10 sites that allowed fishing were surveyed across four countries. Fish flight initiation distance was estimated by measuring how closely a diver could approach individual fish (> 10 cm total length) before they fled. Fishing pressure was estimated by dividing the linear extent of reef open to fishing by the number of fishers in the fishing community and ranged from 0–80 fishers/km.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

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