The effects of marine parks and fishing on coral reefs of northern Tanzania

  • Published source details McClanahan T.R., Muthiga N.A., Kamukuru A.T., Machano H. & Kiambo R.W. (1999) The effects of marine parks and fishing on coral reefs of northern Tanzania. Biological Conservation, 89, 161-182.


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 1996 of fifteen patch coral reef sites in the Indian Ocean off east Africa (McClanahan et al. 1999) found that prohibiting all fishing in two marine parks for 5 and 22 years resulted in higher total fish biomass and similar fish densities and total species richness compared to unprotected fished reef areas, and there were differences between individual fish family groups. Across both parks, total fish biomass was higher at non-fished (806 kg/ha) than fished (230kg/ha) reefs and individually for seven of eleven fish groups (see paper for data by group). There were no differences in average densities of eight of eight fish groups between non-fished and fished reefs (non-fished: 0–317 fish/500 m2, fished: 0–609 fish/500 m2), although higher densities were recorded in non-fished reef areas for 26 of 134 individual species and a lower density for one. Overall species richness was similar at non-fished (40–50 fish/500m2) and fished (28–39 fish/500m2) reefs, and higher at non-fished reefs for four of eight family groups (see paper for data by group). Fish were surveyed at five non-fished and ten fished coral reefs sites off southern Kenya and Tanzania (sampling times were not reported). Three non-fished reefs were in the Kisite Marine National Park (10 km2, no-take since 1974) and two in the Chumbe Island Coral Park (500 m stretch of reef, no-take since 1991). At each reef site the fish assemblage was quantified along two 5 x 100 m transects by two methods: one to estimate wet weight by family group and one to record the number of individuals per species and the number of species per transect. The authors used a non-standard threshold for statistical significance (0.07).

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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