Review of generic no-take areas and conventional fishery closure systems and their application to the management of tropical fishery resources along north-western Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Natural Sciences
A large number of generic no-take (sanctuary) areas have been gazetted or planned along the coast of. Western Australia. Although the principal purpose of these zones is to conserve biodiversity, they are also considered to be a useful tool to conserve stocks of economically important species. The application of generic no-take areas and species or fishery-specific closure systems, are reviewed in relation to available information from the tropical fishery resources of north-western Australia. The marine environment of north-western Australia supports significant commercial and recreational fisheries for both pelagic and demersal finfish. This review takes a top-down approach, whereby the available biological and fishery abundance data for key commercial and recreational fish species is collated and assessed to determine whether generic no-take areas and/or targeted fishery closure systems, both spatial and temporal, can provide an effective contribution to the · management framework needed to ensure sustainable harvest strategies. The key exploited species examined occupy a range of marine environments from the pelagic to inshore demersal reef areas. This review and assessment of the anticipated performance of different closure strategies for each species type utilises data from a series of comprehensive studies undertaken to support ongoing management of commercial and recreational fishing across more than 2000 km of coastline. Outcomes from this review suggest that the generic no-take approach is a relatively inefficient mechanism for maintaining breeding stock levels of economically important finfish species, relative to specifically designed closures and associated fishing effort control systems designed to protect key target species, particularly those with greater mobility. · The relative merits of the no-take areas and fishery closures in relation to the sophistication of overall fisheries management controls and the mobility of the target species concerned is discussed.