The number of illegal fishing events can measure change in the level of community acceptance of NFZs in their local seascape, which ultimately reflects how protected areas are being integrated as a sustainable tool for ecosystem restoration. A decrease in events will also have direct ecological impacts by reducing pressure on fish populations, allowing fish abundance and overall biomass (fish size) to increase.
Mixed results: in some sites, AKD has observed a decrease in illegal activity, although in other sites, illegal activity has increased.
Illegal events have increased in some NFZs because the fishi populations have increased since the NFZs were established. This has made fishing more tempting in these areas, despite the fact that they are being patrolled.
AKD now knows to expect an increase in illegal fishing in NFZs, once fish populations have grown. In response, they can plan to have more patrols in the year or two after NFZ establishment, to keep illegal fishing events low.
Number of reports of illegal fishing activity are recorded by patrol rangers, standardised by patrol effort and presence of coast guard operating in the same area. Government cooperation is requested in the form of sharing their patrol reports to increase accuracy of data. Public awareness also plays an important role, as voluntary reports of illegal activities from locals (to either AKD or the coast guard) are also recorded and integrated into the final variable, number of illegal incidences per patrol.
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