Our new study, published today in Journal of Applied Ecology, demonstrates that the challenge of keeping fish in the sea while putting fish on the plate might be best achieved through periodically harvested fisheries closures.

Periodically harvested closures (PHCs) are a widespread, centuries‐old form of fisheries management that protects fish between pulse harvests and can generate high harvest efficiency by reducing fish wariness of fishing gear. However, the ability for periodic closures to also support high fisheries yields and healthy marine ecosystems has remained uncertain, despite increased promotion of periodic closures for managing fisheries and conserving ecosystems across the Indo‐Pacific.

In this paper, led by Paul Carvalho, we used a bioeconomic fisheries model to quantify the extent to which periodic closures can simultaneously maximise harvest efficiency, fisheries yield and conservation of fish stocks. We found that PHCs can, in most cases, simultaneously maximise these three objectives, outperforming permanent no‐take marine protected areas (MPAs) or nonspatial management. 

Our results provide guidance for Melanesian communities using PHCs, indicating that short closure periods between pulse harvest events are most appropriate for well‐managed fisheries or areas with large periodic closures, whereas longer closure periods are more appropriate for small closures and overfished systems.

Read more about the paper on the Journal of Applied Ecology blog, or download the paper (open access for a limited time) here –

Carvalho, P. G., Jupiter, S. D., Januchowski-Hartley, F. A., Goetze, J., Claudet, J., Weeks, R., et al. (2019). Optimized fishing through periodically harvested closures. Journal of Applied Ecology, 22, 61–10. http://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13417

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