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Conservation Evidence Journal

Publishing evidence to improve practice


The Conservation Evidence Journal shares the global experience of those on the front line of conservation practice about the effectiveness of conservation actions. All papers include monitoring of the effects of the intervention and are written by, or in partnership with, those who did the conservation work. We encourage articles from anywhere around the world on all aspects of species and habitat management such as habitat creation, habitat restoration, translocations, reintroductions, invasive species control, changing attitudes and education. 

The Conservation Evidence Journal publishes peer-reviewed papers throughout the year collected in an annual Volume. We publish Special Issues and collate Collections on specific topics, such as management of particular groups of species or habitats. To search for papers on a specific topic within the journal select Advanced search, enter your keyword(s) and within the Source box type: "conservation evidence". This will take you to a list of actions that contain Conservation Evidence Journal papers. In order to see the list of individual Conservation Evidence Journal papers on the topic, please click on 'You can also search Individual Studies' at the top of this page.

Creative Commons License Copyright is retained by the author(s). All papers published in the Conservation Evidence Journal are open access and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

The Conservation Evidence Journal is a separate publication within the Conservation Evidence project. Conservation Evidence is a free, authoritative information resource designed to support decisions about how to maintain and restore global biodiversity. You can search for summarised evidence from the scientific literature about the effects of actions for species groups and habitats using our online database

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Fish management

This virtual collection contains seven papers on the management of fish.

Autumn electrofishing reduces harm to Ontario (Canada) stream fishes collected during watershed health monitoring

Reid S.M. & LeBaron A. (2021), 18, 31-36


Electrofishing surveys provide important information on watershed health, and the status of imperiled and recreationally important stream fishes. Concerns about the harmful effects of electrofishing on the endangered redside dace Clinostomus elongatus have resulted in restrictions on its use in sampling activities in the province of Ontario, Canada. However, the effectiveness of these restrictions is unproven. We undertook a paired sampling gear study in 2018-2019 to test whether an alternate gear (seine nets) or a change in electrofishing timing (autumn rather than summer) reduced harm to stream fishes. The study took place in streams located in the Greater Toronto Area. We found large differences in the frequency and magnitude of sampling-related mortalities between sampling gear and seasons. During individual surveys, electrofishing mortality never exceeded 9% in the summer or 4% in the autumn, while seining-related mortality reached 60% at two stream sites. Overall, autumn electrofishing resulted in mortality rates that were 5.6 and 15 times lower than summer electrofishing and summer seining. These results indicate that survival of Ontario stream fishes can be improved by delaying electrofishing until early autumn.


Home-made fish traps reduce the capture of small shannies (Lipophrys pholis) compared to using hand-nets in the UK

Barrett C. J., Johnson M. L. & Hull S. L. (2020), 17, 32-34


A replicated, controlled study in 2011-2012 found that using home-made fish traps reduced the capture of unwanted, small shannies Lipophrys pholis compared to using conventional hand-nets in intertidal habitats.


Livestock management and dam removal allowed the recovery of an aquatic habitat for endangered frog and fish species in Argentinian Patagonia

Arellano M.L., Velasco M.A., Quiroga S., Kass C.A., Kass N.A. & Kacoliris F.P. (2017), 14, 67-67


Placement of fencing around a stream to prevent livestock damage and water flow restoration via removal of a dam allowed riparian and aquatic vegetation recovery (76%) in less than one month. This subsequently allowed the reintroduction of a Critically Endangered frog as well as protection of an Endangered fish species.


Reinforcement of American eel Anguilla rostrata populations in eastern Lake Ontario tributaries, Ontario, Canada

Reid S.M. & Hogg S. (2014), 11, 29-33


A dramatic decline in American eel Anguilla rostrata abundance led to the species being assessed as endangered in Ontario (Canada) and the closure of fisheries. As part of efforts to recover populations, four million eels (glass eels and elvers) were released over a five year period into the upper St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. A large-scale electrofishing survey of eastern Lake Ontario tributaries was undertaken to assess the distribution and survival of the released eels. Four hundred and seventy-six eels were collected from 37 sites along seven watercourses. Eels were well-distributed along five rivers close to the release site. By contrast, distribution along the two largest rivers surveyed was restricted to a few kilometres upstream of Lake Ontario because of multiple impassable dams. The average length of eels caught in these two rivers was 40 mm shorter than eels in other watercourses. Eels were not detected in five smaller and colder creeks further west.


Using social marketing to foster sustainable behaviour in traditional fishing communities of southwest Madagascar

Andriamalala G., Peabody S., Gardner C.J. & Westerman K. (2013), 10, 37-41


From April 2009 to November 2010, a social marketing campaign was designed and implemented in southwest Madagascar to encourage fishers to give up destructive fishing methods and to improve the awareness and enforcement of local laws (dina). The campaign, which targeted local leaders and fishers, was designed using results from formal and informal social surveys and focused on removing locally perceived barriers to behaviour change. In this paper, we describe the campaign from design to implementation, and evaluate its effects through surveys of 500 fishers and local leaders, and preliminary observational data on dina enforcement and use of destructive fishing techniques. Results after one year showed improved knowledge and positive attitudes about dina among leaders and fishers, moderate increases in the enforcement of dina, and moderate decreases in the use of destructive fishing methods. Our findings demonstrate the power and suitability of social marketing as a tool for fostering sustainable behaviour in traditional fishing communities, when combined with good governance and enforcement strategies.


Introduction of rudd Scardinius erythropthalmus as food for bitterns Botaurus stellaris at Titchwell Marsh RSPB reserve, Norfolk, England

Gurney M. (2007), 4, 4-5


Rudd Scardinius erythropthalmus introduced to a wetland nature reserve as a potential food source for bitterns Botaurus stellaris, successfully became established within 3 years of release.


Aquarium fisheries as a non-timber forest product: experiences from conservation through community development in North Rupununi District, Guyana

Bicknell J. & Chin C. (2007), 4, 94-98


Deforestation is one of the major global conservation issues. Solutions are being sought to tackle this ongoing forest loss, including establishment of initiatives to provide new sources of income for local communities that promote the sustainable use of forests in the interest of biodiversity conservation. One such project 'Iwokrama', demonstrates how tropical forests and associated habitats can be sustainably used. In the central Guyana wetlands of the Rupununi, illegal fishing of arapaima Arapaima gigas, had led to a huge reduction in its numbers. Iwokrama responded by initiating the Arapaima Management Plan in 2002. This highlighted the need for another source of local income from fisheries, and a business that undertakes sustainable-harvest of fish for the aquarium trade was developed. Harvesting of a few selected fish species is carried-out by members of the local community who are paid a daily wage. Fishing methods target individual species to avoid incidental by-catch. Four species are primarily caught as they are numerous in the Rupununi and are of high trade value. To ensure ecological and economical sustainability, catch per unit effort is monitored; where this begins to drop for any given species, harvesting is suspended and the population is allowed to recover before harvesting resumes. The project has developed into a self-sustaining business, managed by the community themselves. During 2005, the project reached financial sustainability with current profits of over US$3,000 feeding back into local community initiatives.


Relocation of pygmy cormorants Phalacrocorax pygmeus using scare tactics to reduce conflict with fish farmers in the Bet She'an Valley, Israel

Nemtzov S.C. (2005), 2, 3-5


To help resolve the conflict between pygmy cormorants Phalacrocorax pygmeus and fish farmers, the birds were scared away from Bet She'an Valley before the breeding season started. The cormorants have subsequently relocated to other, safer breeding sites.


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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.

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