Effects of fishing on fish assemblages at the reefscape scale
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We studied the persistence of fishing impacts on coral reef fish assemblages by sampling 2 protected and 2 fished locations, using random replicate stereo baited remote underwater video. At each location we sampled a variety of coral reef habitats on 4 separate occasions between 2006 and 2007. We tested for consistency in differences in the biomass of target and non-target species, trophic groups and overall assemblages. Generally, target species were more abundant and/or larger at protected locations. Many non-target species were either more abundant or depleted at protected sites, and some of these species were significantly larger or smaller. Trophic groups such as piscivores, piscivore invertivores, invertivores and planktivores were consistently more abundant within protected locations. Generally, greater numbers of species and individuals were found on protected reefs, though this was not consistent in all cases across all 4 sampling periods. These findings are consistent with the theory that protected areas can increase the abundance of not just target species but overall fish assemblages. These findings provide evidence for ecological mechanisms such as predator–prey interactions, competitive release, and benefits to invertivores, omnivores and other non-target groups from the presence of more abundant and larger target species within marine protected areas.
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Goetze, J.; Langlois, T.; Egli, D.; Harvey, Euan (2011)Protection from fishing generally results in an increase in the abundance and biomass of species targeted by fisheries within marine reserve boundaries. Natural refuges such as depth may also protect such species, yet few ...
Fitzpatrick, B; Harvey, Euan; Heyward, Andrew; Twiggs, Emily; Colquhoun, Jamie (2012)The implications of shallow water impacts such as fishing and climate change on fish assemblages are generally considered in isolation from the distribution and abundance of these fish assemblages in adjacent deeper waters. ...
Heyns-Veale, E.; Bernard, A.; Richoux, N.; Parker, D.; Langlois, T.; Harvey, Euan; Götz, A. (2016)Depth and habitat are important predictors of fish assemblage structure, yet current no-take marine protected area (MPA) networks are generally limited to providing refuge for fish species that inhabit shallow waters and ...