Putting marine sanctuaries into context: a comparison of estuary fish assemblages over multiple levels of protection and modification

  • Published source details McKinley A.C., Ryan L., Coleman M.A., Knott N.A., Clark G., Taylor M.D. & Johnston E.L. (2011) Putting marine sanctuaries into context: a comparison of estuary fish assemblages over multiple levels of protection and modification. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 21, 636-648.


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 2009–2010 of four estuaries in the Tasman Sea, New South Wales, Australia (McKinley et al. 2011) found higher average abundance of commercially targeted fish and similar species number in marine park zones where all fishing has been prohibited for four to eight years, compared to partially fished park zones, but there was a lower abundance of targeted fish and a different overall fish assemblage than unprotected fished estuaries. Abundance in no fishing park zones was higher than fished park zones for all targeted fish (no fishing: 3.9, fished: 1.5 count/camera drop), and individually for pink snapper Pagrus auratus (no fishing: 0.9, fished: 0.1 count/camera drop), but was similar for silver trevally Pseudocaranx georgianus and yellowfin bream Acanthopagrus australis (trevally: 1.0 vs 0.0, bream: 0.2 vs 0.1). The number of fish species (no fishing: 6.3, fished: 4.8) and maximum abundance of all fish (no fishing: 27, fished: 45 fish/camera drop) were similar in non-fished and fished park zones. In addition, targeted fish abundance was higher in estuaries without marine parks (12 fish/camera drop) and had a different fish assemblage (data reported graphically). Four estuaries, in New South Wales (100–400 km apart) were randomly sampled from November 2009 to March 2010 using baited remote underwater video. Two estuaries were marine parks (four and eight years old), zoned into no fishing areas and areas where some commercial and recreational fishing (netting and trapping) was permitted. The other two estuaries had no conservation designation and although most commercial fishing was banned they were intensively fished recreationally.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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