Deploy fishing gear at selected times (day/night) to avoid unwanted species

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    not assessed
  • Certainty
    not assessed
  • Harms
    not assessed

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies examined the effect of deploying fishing gear at selected times on marine fish populations. Both studies were in the South Pacific Ocean (Lake Wooloweyah, Australia). 





  • Reduction of unwanted catch (2 studies): One of two replicated, controlled studies in the South Pacific Ocean found that trawling for prawns during the day reduced the overall catch of unwanted fish by number, but not weight, compared to usual night trawling, and the effect differed by species. The other study found that powered handlining in the day avoided catches of Harrison’s dogfish at shallower, but not deeper seamounts, compared to the night.



About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A replicated, controlled study in 2014 at an estuary/lagoon site in Lake Wooloweyah, Australia (Broadhurst et al. 2015) found that trawling for prawns during the day decreased the number, but not weight, of unwanted fish overall compared to the usual practice of trawling during the night, and the effect varied between species. Overall catch rate of unwanted fish by number was lower during the day compared to the night (day: 57–72 fish/ha, night: 107–109 fish/ha), but by weight catch rate was the same (both 1 kg/ha). Trawl deployments during the day reduced the catches of three of seven individual fish species (day: 2–7 fish/ha, night: 5–34 fish/ha), but catch rates were higher than at night for three others (day: 2–65, night: <1–35 fish/ha) and the same for one (2 fish/ha). See original paper for individual species data. Number and weight of commercial target school prawns Metapenaeus macleaya were the same for both night and day deployments (number: 3,272–3,958 prawn/ha, weight: 7–9 kg/ha). In March and April 2014, identical trawl nets were compared by trawling for 45 minutes during six days and four nights. Two types of lengths with different wing and body tapers were tested during 44 paired deployments.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, controlled study (year not stated) of two seamount marine reserves in the South Pacific Ocean 200 km off New South Wales, Australia (Williams et al. 2016) found that selective fishing at specific times and depths avoided the unwanted catch of Harisson’s dogfish Centrophorus harrissoni in a restricted commercial blue-eye trevalla Hyperoglyphe antarctica handline fishery. Across areas, catch rates were lower (0 fish/100 hooks) during the day at seamounts 280–550 m deep (defined as being ‘non-dogfish habitat’), but not at the deeper seamounts (0.4 fish/100 hooks), compared to seamounts at 280–550 m during the night (0.1 fish/100 hooks), both of the latter defined as ‘dogfish habitat’. Catches of trevalla were highly variable but appeared slightly lower in the ‘non-dogfish’ habitat’ compared to the ‘dogfish habitat’ (non-dogfish: 8.2–34.3 fish/100 hooks, dogfish: 9.1–48.9 fish/100 hooks; data not tested for significance). Hydraulically powered handlines with 18 hooks each were deployed during 10 vessel trips 4-5 days long during the day in mid-water (depths) and deep-water (depths), and at night in mid-water. In ‘other habitat’ 1,036 handline deployments were carried out and 407 in ‘dogfish habitat’. Handlines were deployed at randomly selected positions and hauled after 5-10 minutes or until it was felt several fish had been hooked. Details of when the study took place were not provided. Fish were identified and counted.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Taylor, N., Clarke, L.J., Alliji, K., Barrett, C., McIntyre, R., Smith, R.K., and Sutherland, W.J. (2021) Marine Fish Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Selected Interventions. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Marine Fish Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Marine Fish Conservation
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 21

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 ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust