In the Great Barrier Reef, Research shows that fishing is having a significant effect to the future vitality of the reef and fish populations that play an important in the Great Barrier Reef.
For instance, herbivores like surgeon fish keep seaweed-like algae in check, and predators, including coral trout which help maintain a balance ecosystem. Both commercial and recreational fishing often lead to the capture of rare important fish. This can lead to the depletion of key reef species in many locations, affect the abundance of targeted species, and long-term effects, with research showing it may also affect their prey species. Likewise, the vessels used for fishing also greatly pollutes the reefs and kills the living organisms within the reef that greatly contribute to its development. Fishing is a major issue in the Great Barrier Reef; however, unlike climate change and run-off pollution, fishing impacts are relatively easy to manage, therefore it became paramount to create measures that will help conserve and maintain the Great Barrier Reef for the future. The First conservative measure the government implemented is the limitation on the size of fish captured in which ensures that fishermen don’t capture very small sizes of fishes that will mature someday and continue to breed. Another measure implemented by the government is by creating fishing regulations such as marine park zoning which sets rules for the activities allowed in the sector and greatly increase the number of habitats protected from recreational/commercial fishing. Conversely, local communities near the great barrier reef educate community members about the marine life and the marine ecosystem to help them understand the importance of marine life on the Great Barrier Reef and teach responsible fishing practices that help protect the marine environment and continue improving its general health.
With the help of communities and the government, the impacts of fishing have been reduced since the late 1980s and enhanced the conservation of marine biodiversity, including fish stocks. Not only that, but in 2005-2006, the AIMS Long-term Monitoring team reported that the most important commercial fish species, coral trout, had increase in abundance after two years of the closure of fishing.