We evaluate the impact of a fisheries management program centered on the definition of Fish Conservation Zones on biodiversity, measured as the number of species caught in the last 12 months. Data comes from a set of 32 villages in central Lao PDR, of which half participated in the program, and the remaining are a set of matched control villages. The estimated causal effects are large (an increase between 29 and 32 species) and robust to the potential importance of unmeasured confounders. We also show that initial conditions may matter, as the program seems particularly effective in villages with high probability of participating in the program. These results are particularly important given the paucity of evidence regarding the impact of conservation programs on biodiversity, particularly in the context of freshwater ecosystems. Further directions of research suggested by these results are discussed.