Effectiveness of five small Philippines’ coral reef reserves for fish populations depends on site-specific actors, particularly enforcement history

  • Published source details Samoilys M.A., Martin-Smith K.M., Giles B.G., Cabrera B., Anticamara J.A., Brunio E.O. & Vincent A.C.J. (2007) Effectiveness of five small Philippines’ coral reef reserves for fish populations depends on site-specific actors, particularly enforcement history. Biological Conservation, 136, 584-601.


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 1998–2004 of five coral reefs in the Philippine Sea, Philippines (Samoilys et al. 2007) found that, over six years, no-take marine reserves in which all fishing had been prohibited for at least one to three years, had different fish communities compared to adjacent and distant fished areas outside, fish abundances varied between species and level in the food chain, and the differences were greater at reserves with the highest enforcement and compliance history. Fish communities differed between all areas (non-fished, adjacent fished and distant fished) and differences between non-fished and adjacent fished areas were strongest at the two of five reserves with the strictest protection levels (data reported graphically and as statistical results). For fish species at the top of the food chain, abundance was higher at two of the five non-fished reserves than adjacent and distant fished areas across all years (non-fished: 4–28, fished: 3–34 ind/250 m2), and varied between areas at the other reserves over time. Density of fish species in the middle of the food chain was similar between sites (non-fished: 0–148, fished: 0–151 ind/250 m2). For the dominant fish group at the bottom of the food chain Pomatocentridae, density was higher in non-fished areas than fished for two reserves, one with good enforcement (non-fished: 7–149, fished: 0–70 ind/250 m2), and density did not differ between areas at the other three reserves. In addition, the response to no fishing varied between individual fish families and abundances of larger and/or targeted fish by fishers was generally higher inside the reserves, while non-preferred species were more abundant outside. Data was collected at five no-fishing reserves in the Bohol Strait, differing in size (11–50 ha), age (established 1995–1999) and history of enforcement and compliance. One site inside and one outside (within 1,000 m) each of the reserves and at three distant fished sites were monitored twice a year in February-May and August-November from 1998-2004. Fish were surveyed by underwater visual censuses along four 50 x 5 m transects at each site. Fish were counted, fish length measured, and identified to species family and food chain group.

    (Summarised by: Rosslyn McIntyre)

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