Demonstrating multiple benefits from periodically harvested fisheries closures
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© 2017 British Ecological Society. Periodically harvested closures (PHCs) are one of the most common forms of fisheries management in Melanesia, demonstrating multiple objectives, including sustaining fish stocks and increasing catch efficiency to support small-scale fisheries. No studies have comprehensively assessed their ability to provide short-term fisheries benefits across the entire harvest regime. We present a novel analytical framework to guide a meta-analysis and assist future research in conceptualizing and assessing the potential of PHCs to deliver benefits for multiple fisheries-related objectives. Ten PHCs met our selection criteria and on average, they provided a 48% greater abundance and 92% greater biomass of targeted fishes compared with areas open to fishing prior to being harvested. This translated into tangible harvest benefits, with fishers removing 21% of the abundance and 49% of the biomass within PHCs, resulting in few post-harvest protection benefits. When PHCs are larger, closed for longer periods or well enforced, short-term fisheries benefits are improved. However, an increased availability of fish within PHCs leads to greater removal during harvests. Synthesis and applications. Periodically harvested clos ures (PHCs) can provide short-term fisheries benefits. Use of the analytical framework presented here will assist in determining long-term fisheries and conservation benefits. We recommend PHCs be closed to fishing for as long as possible, be as large as possible, that compliance be encouraged via community engagement and enforcement, and strict deadlines/goals for harvesting set to prevent overfishing.
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