Limited fishing grounds support reef conservation – sciencedaily

A first global study conducted in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park found that limited fishing areas (yellow areas) are still important tools for fisheries conservation and management when combined with non-fishing areas. peach.

Lead author Dr April Hall, from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU), said partially protected yellow areas still contain healthy numbers of reef fish targeted for recreational and commercial fishing. These include coral trout, tropical snappers, emperors, and tusks.

Yellow areas limit, rather than prohibit, fishing through gear restrictions. For example, limited angling is permitted with one rod or line and hook per person.

“We have found that the number of popular fishing targets in these yellow areas is up to 69 percent of what they are in adjacent green areas without a catch,” said Dr Hall.

The green areas, where all fishing is prohibited, are areas that are more frequently studied. Their benefits for conservation and flow fisheries are already well established.

Although there were fewer fishing targets in the yellow areas, the yellow and green areas had similar abundances of non-target fish and a richness of fish species overall.

“The green and yellow areas have supported a great diversity of fish species,” said Dr Hall.

The yellow areas were set aside as partially protected areas in the 2004 zoning plan of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). GBRMPA co-author Darren Cameron said the Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest and most studied marine parks in the world. However, this research is the first to specifically address yellow areas.

“We have found that the yellow areas, in conjunction with the green areas, are an effective management tool. They contribute to the conservation objectives of the Marine Park while positively supporting fishing opportunities,” said Cameron.

The study took place in the Hinchinbrook and Dunk Island area. The region has exceptional biodiversity and cultural heritage. It is an important area for recreational, commercial and native fishing. The study also considers zoning on coastal reefs, an area that has previously received little attention.

The project is a collaboration between Coral CoE at JCU and GBRMPA, as part of Dr. Hall’s Advance Queensland Postdoctoral Fellowship. The scans are part of his larger project assessing yellow areas across the Great Barrier Reef.

“The data from our project will be essential for conservation and fishing,” said Dr Hall.

What is a yellow zone?

Authorized fishing activities in a conservation park area (yellow) include:

* Limited angling (one hand rod or hand line per person, with no more than one hook attached to that line)

* Trolling (no more than three lines per person and up to six hooks in total per person)

* Restriction on the number of commercial fishing vessels

* Limited underwater fishing (snorkel only)

* Bait net

* Limited crabbing (four crab pots, collapsible traps or dill)

* Limited collection (includes oysters and bait, excludes capture of corals, live or dead and anemones).

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