Defining sustainable levels of fishing use and extraction, particularly of herbivores, helps maintain a healthy coral reef ecosystem. Photo © Eric Verheij

Defining sustainable levels of fishing use and extraction, particularly of herbivores, helps maintain a healthy coral reef ecosystem. Photo © Eric Verheij

Managing fisheries is a crucial issue for coral reef managers. Ineffective management of fishing activity can cause direct impacts to biodiversity, reduce ecological resilience, and reduce the stability of the fishery.

Scientists and conservation managers have recognized the importance of an ecosystem-based approach to fishery management (EAFM); important objectives include maintaining a sustainable harvest, protecting functioinal groups, reducing by-catch, protecting spawning aggregations and critical areas, and managing risk from climate change and ocean acidification (Read more about EAFM and fisheries management approaches on our Coral Reef Fisheries Module).

Marine protected areas (MPAs) — MPAs can take many forms, but no-take areas are especially important for sustaining populations of targeted fish species. No-take MPAs can be established as tools for fishery management or for biodiversity protection, and often both objectives can be achieved simultaneously. The following strategies have proven to be successful models to achieve MPA designation and buy-in from stakeholders:

  • ‘Locally managed marine areas’ (LMMAs) recognize the contribution of customary or community based management. They are based on the long history of informal, local-scale marine management in many tropical cultures.
  • Herbivore protection involves regulating herbivore removal in MPAs, and working with fishers and fishery managers to protect the viability of herbivore populations in the wider reef ecosystem.

Read more about MPAs, no-take zones, Territorial User Rights in Fishing (TURFs), and other fisheries management strategies.

Return to Top

Last updated September 2, 2015

Translate »