Composition and diversity of fish and fish catches in closures and open-access fisheries of Kenya

  • Published source details McClanahan T.R., Kaunda-Arara B. & Omukoto J.O. (2010) Composition and diversity of fish and fish catches in closures and open-access fisheries of Kenya. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 17, 63-76.


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 1992–2006 of nine coral reef sites in the Indian Ocean, Kenya (McClanahan et al. 2010) found that the effects of closing protected areas to all fishing for over 15 years on fish abundance varied between species, compared to adjacent openly fished areas, and the effects on fish species richness and diversity varied with the method used to assess them (fisheries independent underwater visual census versus fisheries dependent catch data). Across bot sampling methods, fish abundances differed between non-fished and fished areas, with about half of the species recorded as common to both management areas by each method being more abundant in closed areas (data reported graphically and as statistical results). Visual census sampling found that the total number of fish species was higher in closed (134) than fished areas (94) and species diversity was similar (0.94–0.95). In contrast, trap and line fishing methods found lower numbers of fish species and diversity at closed areas (number, closed: 30–79, fished: 73–107 species; diversity, closed: 0.5–0.8, fished: 0.8). Trap and line fishing data was collected from two fisheries dependent sources: experimental catch and release studies undertaken for scientific purposes in three old Kenyan fisheries closures (established by 1978, all extractive activities prohibited) and catch composition measured from adjacent traditional fisheries using the same gear types at six heavily fished grounds; and compared with existing fisheries dependent data (underwater visual census surveys, see paper for studies) collected at the same sites. Experimental fishing took place between 1995 and 2006 at three closed areas: Malindi and Watamu Marine National Parks (traps only) and Kisite Marine National Park (traps and line); and six fishing grounds (both methods, line catches obtained from local traditional fishers). Visual census surveys were done at all sites between 1992–2006 (see original paper for details).

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

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