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Most large-scale conservation policies are anticipated or announced in advance. This risks the possibility of preemptive resource extraction before the conservation intervention goes into force. We use a high-resolution dataset of satellite-based fishing activity to show that anticipation of an impending no-take marine reserve undermines the policy by triggering an unintended race-to-fish. We study one of the world's largest marine reserves, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), and finddoi:10.1073/pnas.1802862115 pmid:30150404 fatcat:bc4bgzc2efcftm4lyiudu5zafq