Effects of fisheries closures and gear restrictions on fishing income in a Kenyan coral reef

  • Published source details McClanahan T.R. (2010) Effects of fisheries closures and gear restrictions on fishing income in a Kenyan coral reef. Conservation Biology, 24, 1519-1528.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cease or prohibit mobile fishing gears that catch bottom (demersal) species and are dragged across the seafloor

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit mobile fishing gears that catch bottom (demersal) species and are dragged across the seafloor

    A replicated, before-and-after, site comparison study in 1996–2007 of three coral reef areas in the Indian Ocean, off Kenya (McClanahan 2010) found that landing sites in two management areas (with and without areas closed to all fishing) where beach and all other seine nets had been prohibited for three to six years, had higher average fish lengths of two of five groups, increased overall fish catch rates and varied catch rates of individual fish groups compared to an unrestricted fishing area. Overall, average length was higher in management areas where seine nets were eliminated than in an openly fished site for goatfish Mullidae (managed: 19 cm, open: 13 cm) and parrotfish Scaridae (managed: 18–19 cm, open:14 cm), and no differences were found for the other three groupings of rabbitfish Siganidae, scavengers Lethrinidae, Lutjanidae, Haemulidae and ‘rest of catch’ (managed: 16–19 cm, open: 14–17 cm) (see paper for separate group averages). In the period after beach seines were eliminated (2002–2007), total catch rates increased from 3.0–3.2 to 3.7–3.8 kg/fisher/day in managed areas and averaged 2.0 kg/fisher/day in the open site. In addition, differences in catch composition were found between areas and catch rates differed for four of the five groups with time and management regime (see original paper for data). Fish data was collected between two and 10 days/month at 10 fish landing sites representing three different management regimes: one intensively managed area (small-mesh beach seine nets prohibited in 2001, next to a 6 km2 no-fishing protected area); one moderately managed area (most seine nets prohibited in 2001, and all seine nets in 2004, >30 km from an area closed to fishing); and one with no restrictions on gear (seine nets the dominant gear but also hand lines, spear guns gillnets, traps and fence nets used, 1–10 km from an area closed to fishing). Fish were categorized by the five groups used locally to price and sell the fish. Data for the two managed areas were collected 1996–2007 and for the open area data was collected in 2001–2007.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust