Scientific Support for Fully & Highly Protected Areas
At Marine Conservation Institute, we strive to base our work and advocacy on the best available science. The following sections highlight some of the key scientific literature that provides evidence of the biological, ecological, economic, and social benefits of fully and highly protected areas, as well as the need to increase MPA coverage to 30% by 2030. It is by no means an exhaustive bibliography of MPA science, but a sampling of the existing literature.
Turnbull , J.W., Johnston, E.L., and Clark, G.F. (2021) Conservation Biology. First published: 14 January 2021 https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13677
Partially protected areas are “no better” than open areas on measured social and ecological factors including fish biomass, mobile macro invertebrate abundance, sessile diversity and cover and algal diversity and coverage, and perceptions and attraction to PAs and their wildlife by humans. Fully protected areas are not only more effective ecologically, but are perceived more positively by local communities and visitors and assigned a higher value by local communities and visitors.
Marine Conservation Begins at Home: How a Local Community and Protection of a Small Bay Sent Waves of Change Around the UK and Beyond
Stewart B. D., Howarth L. M., Wood H., Whiteside K., Carney W., Crimmins É., O’Leary B. C., Hawkins J. P., Roberts C. M. (2020) Frontiers in Marine Science, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00076
Since protection, biodiversity has increased substantially, along with the size, age and density of commercially important species... Arguably more important, however, is the influence the Lamlash Bay NTZ and COAST have had on UK marine protection in general. Most notably, detailed research has created a case study that clearly demonstrates the benefits of protection in an area where little such evidence is available.
Sala, Enric and Giakoumi, Sylvaine (2017). ICES Journal of Marine Science, Volume 75, Issue 3, May-June 2018, Pages 1166–1168, https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsx059
Biomass of whole fish assemblage is 670% greater in no-take reserves than unprotected areas, and 343% greater in no-take marine reserves than in partially protected areas. Fish biomass in partially protected areas is only 183% greater than in unprotected areas on average. Marine reserves also help restore the complexity of ecosystems through a chain of ecological effects (trophic cascades) once the abundance of large animals recovers sufficiently. Marine reserves may not be immune to the effects of climate change, but to date, reserves with complex ecosystems are more resilient than unprotected areas. Although marine reserves were conceived to protect ecosystems within their boundaries, they have also been shown to enhance local fisheries and create jobs and new incomes through ecotourism.
Fidler R.Y., Carroll J., Rynerson K.W., Matthews D.F., Turingan R.G. (2018) PLoS ONE 13(2): e0193426. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193426
Shifts toward advantageous phenotypes were most common in the oldest and largest MPAs, but occurred in all of the MPAs examined. These results suggest that MPAs may provide protection against the impacts of size-selective harvest on life-history traits in coral-reef fishes.
Recovery trajectories of kelp forest animals are rapid yet spatially variable across a network of temperate marine protected areas
Caselle, J. E., Rassweiler, A., Hamilton, S.L. & Warner R.R. (2015) Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 14102
We found that the biomass of targeted (i.e. fished) species has increased consistently inside all MPAs in the network, with an effect of geography on the strength of the response. More interesting, biomass of targeted fish species also increased outside MPAs, although only 27% as rapidly as in the protected areas, indicating that redistribution of fishing effort has not severely affected unprotected populations.
Expectations and Outcomes of Reserve Network Performance following Re-zoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Emslie, M.J., Logan, M., Williamson, D. H., Ayling, A. M., MacNeil, A. M., Ceccarelli, D., Cheal, A. J., Evans, R. D., Johns, K. A., Jonker, M. J., Miller, I. R.,Osborne, K., Russ, G. R., Sweatman H. P. A. (2015) Current Biology, 25, 1-10 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.073
NTMRs (Networks of no-take marine reserves) may provide greater potential for replenishment after disturbances.
Solar, A. G., Edgar, J. G., Thomson, J. R., Kininmonth, S., Campbell, J. S., Dawson, P. T., et al. (2015) PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140270 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140270
The biomass of all major trophic groups (higher carnivores, benthic carnivores, planktivores and harbivores) was significantly greater (by 40% - 200%) in effective no-take MPAs relative to fished open-access areas.
Goetz, J.S., and Fullwood, L.A.F. (2013) Coral Reefs (2013) 32:121–125 DOI: 10.1007/s00338-012-0970-4
Marine reserves can benefit sharks by offering greater prey availability inside a protected reserve for better foraging and survival.
Areas: Namena reserve, Fiji
Aburto-Oropeza, O., Erisman, B., Galland, G. R., Mascareñas-Osorio, I., Sala, E., and Ezcurra, E. (2011) PLoS One, 6(8), e23601 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023601
Social and ecological factors can aid no-take marine reserves increase fish biomass as well as provide significant economic benefits to the surrounding community.
Pichegru, L., Grémillet, D., Crawford, R. J. M., and Ryan, P. G. (2010) Biology Letters, 6(4), 498-501 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0913
No-take marine reserves can immediately benefit marine top predators, like the African penguin that relies on pelagic prey, such as sardines and anchovies, by providing new and protected foraging areas.
Areas: South Africa
Stockwell, B., Jadloc, C.R.L., Abesamis, R.A., Alcala, A.C., and Russ, G.R. (2009) Marine Ecology Progress Series, 389, 1-15 DOI: 10.3354/meps08150
Protection of functionally important fish, such as parrotfish, can lead to decreased algal growth and ultimately increased coral cover and abundance.
Lester, S.E., B.S. Halpern, K. Grorud-Colvert, J. Lubchenco, B.I. Ruttenberg, S.D. Gaines, S. Airamé and R. R. Warner. (2009) Marine Ecology Progress Series 384: 33–46.
Reserve characteristics and context, particular the intensity of fishing outside the reserve and inside the reserve before implementation, play key roles in determining the direction and magnitude of the reserve response and protection.
Sweatman, H. (2008). Current Biology, 18(14), R598-R599 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.05.033
Protection from fishing can have a positive effect on reducing the frequency of outbreaks of the predatory crown-of-thorns starfish. Outbreaks were found to be 7 times lower inside no-take areas vs reefs open to fishing
Micheli, F., Halpern, B. S., Botsford, L. W., & Warner, R. R. (2004) Ecological Applications, 14(6), 1709-1723.
Marine reserves are effective in enhancing local abundances of exploited species and restoring the structure of whole communities, though these changes occur through a series of transient states and, for some communities, over long time frames (decades). In contrast with the more predictable increases of aggregate community variables such as total abundance and biomass, individual species and community structure exhibited broad variation in their responses to protection.
Halpern, B. S. and Warner, R. R. (2002) Ecology Letters, 5: 361–366. doi: 10.1046/j.1461-0248.2002.00326.x
The higher average values of density, biomass, average organism size, and diversity inside reserves (relative to controls) reach mean levels within a short (1–3 y) period of time and that the values are subsequently consistent across reserves of all ages (up to 40 y). Therefore, biological responses inside marine reserves appear to develop quickly and last through time.
Mariani, G. et al. (2020) Science Advances 6: eabb4848.
The carcasses of large marine fish sink and sequester carbon in the deep ocean, fisheries extract a massive amount of this “blue carbon,” contributing to additional atmospheric CO2 emissions. This study shows that ocean fisheries have released a minimum of 0.73 billion metric tons of CO2 (GtCO2) in the atmosphere since 1950. Globally, 43.5% of the blue carbon extracted by fisheries in the high seas comes from areas that would be economically unprofitable without subsidies. Limiting blue carbon extraction by fisheries, particularly on unprofitable areas, would reduce CO2 emissions by burning less fuel and reactivating a natural carbon pump through the rebuilding of fish stocks and the increase of carcasses deadfall.
The central importance of ecological spatial connectivity to effective coastal marine protected areas and to meeting the challenges of climate change in the marine environment
Carr, M. et al. (2017) Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 27(S1):6–29.
Connectivity‐informed MPAs and MPA networks – designed and managed to foster the ecological spatial connectivity processes important to local populations, species, communities, and ecosystems – can best address ecological changes induced by climate change. Also, the protections afforded by MPAs from direct, local human impacts may ameliorate climate change impacts in coastal ecosystems inside MPAs and, indirectly, in ecosystems outside MPAs.
Mellin, C., Aaron MacNeil, M., Cheal, A. J., Emslie, M. J. and Julian Caley, M. (2016) Ecol Lett. doi:10.1111/ele.12598
MPAs can increase the resilience of marine communities to natural disturbance possibly through herbivory, trophic cascades and portfolio effects.
Areas: Australia, Global
Valuing Blue Carbon: Carbon Sequestration Benefits Provided by the Marine Protected Areas in Colombia.
Zarate-Barrera, T.G. and Maldonado, J.H. (2015) PLOS ONE 10(5): e0126627.
This paper focuses on presenting the methodology and the results associated with the economic valuation of the carbon sequestration service provided by the Marine Protected Areas’ subsystem for Colombia, a proposed network of MPAs that generates a bundle of ecosystem services. From the proposed methodology, the Subsystem contribution to GHG mitigation is determined, and a function of benefits which includes both economic and biological elements allowed determining the monetary value associated with this regulation service provided by marine and costal ecosystems, such as mangroves and seagrasses.
Lamb, J. B., Williamson, D. H., Russ, G. R. and Willis, B. L. (2015) Ecological Society of America http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/14-1952.1
This is the first study to link disease with recreational use intensity in a park, emphasizing the need to evaluate the placement of closures and their direct relationship to ecosystem health. We found that sites located within reserves had four-fold reductions in coral disease prevalence compared to non-reserve sites (80,466 corals surveyed).
Olds, A. D., Pitt, K. A., Maxwell, P. S., Babcock, R. C., Rissik, D. and Connolly, R. M. (2014) Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12606
Marine reserves enhanced the capacity of coral reefs to withstand flood impacts. Reserve reefs resisted the impact of perturbation, whilst fished reefs did not. The capacity of reserves to mitigate external disturbances and promote ecological resilience will be critical to resisting an increased frequency of climate-related disturbance.
Micheli, F., Saenz-Arroyo, A., Greenley, A., Vazquez, L., Montes J.A.E., Rossetto, M., and De Leo, G. (2012) PLoS ONE 7(7): e40832. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0040832
No-take marine reserves can support more resilient marine populations in the face of large scale environmental impacts compared to unprotected areas outside of a reserve.
Areas: Baja California, Mexico
Cabral, R., Bradley, D. et al. (2020) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nov 2020, 117 (45) 28134-28139; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2000174117
This study analyzed distribution, life history, and catch data for 1,338 commercially important stocks to design what a network of MPAs for food security would look like globally. Strategically expanding the MPA network to cover an additional 5% of the ocean can increase future fish catch by at least 20% through spillover.
Lynham J., Nikolaev A., Raynor J., Vilela, T. & Villaseñor-Derbez, J. C.. (2020) Nature Communications, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14588-3
We find that the monument expansions had little, if any, negative impacts on the fishing industry, corroborating ecological models that have predicted minimal impacts from closing large parts of the Pacific Ocean to fishing.
Ecological spillover from a marine protected area replenishes an over-exploited population across an island chain.
Kough et al. (2019) Conservation Science and Practice 1:e17.
The queen conch (Lobatus gigas) supports an iconic Bahamian fishery, but populations are declining. Here we provide evidence for MPAs as a solution: showing that a well‐enforced MPA supplies ecological spillover through larval supply. Dive surveys throughout the Exuma Cays, including a centrally‐located MPA, provided information on abundance, size, and age. Data showed higher‐adult abundance within the MPA and positive associations between enforcement and conch size and age. A biophysical model estimated that MPA larvae settled in unprotected areas, and that MPA larval sources included unprotected sites with densities too low for reproduction.
Assessing fishing effects inside and outside an MPA: The impact of the Galapagos Marine Reserve on the Industrial pelagic tuna fisheries during the first decade of operation.
Bucaram, S.J. et al. (2018) Marine Policy 87: 212-225.
The creation of the GMR increased fishing productivity in both the Galapagos Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surrounding the GMR, as well as inside the marine reserve. However, the effect was heterogenous among tuna species-the GMR had a positive impact on the fishing productivity of yellowfin tuna (YFT) and skipjack tuna (SKJ) fisheries, but did not have any significant effect on that of bigeye tuna (BET).
Rapid declines across Australian fishery stocks indicate global sustainability targets will not be achieved without an expanded network of ‘no‐fishing’ reserves
Edgar, G. J., , Ward, T.J., R. D. Stuart-Smith. (2018) Aquatic Conservation doi.org/10.1002/aqc.2934.
The biomass of large fishes observed on underwater transects decreased significantly over the same period on fished reefs (36% decline) and in marine park zones that allow limited fishing (18% decline), but with a negligible overall change in no‐fishing marine reserves. Populations of exploited fishes generally rose within marine reserves and declined outside the reserves, whereas unexploited species showed little difference in population trends within or outside reserves.
Demographic effects of full vs. partial protection from harvesting: inference from an empirical before-after control-impact study on Atlantic cod
Fernández- Chacón, A., Moland, E., Espeland, S. H., Olsen, E. M. (2015) Appl Ecol 52: 1206-1215. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12477
MPAs that are no-take zones can increase survival, which may result in increases in population density and beneficial spill over to surrounding areas, and are likely to be most effective in areas where local populations are particularly reduced.
Areas: Flødevigen, MPA
Effects of ecosystem protection on scallop populations within a community-led temperate marine reserve
Howarth, L. M., Roberts, C.M., Hawkins, J.P., Steadman, D.J., & Beukers-Stewart, B. D. (2015) Marine biology,
Overall, this study is consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can encourage the recovery of seafloor habitats, which, in turn, can benefit populations of commercially exploited species, emphasising the importance of marine reserves in the ecosystem-based management of fisheries.
Advani, S., Rix, L. N., Aherne, D. M., Alwany, M. A. and Bailey, D. M. (2015) PLoS One, 10(5), e0126098 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126098
Our findings indicate that due to non-compliance the no-take reserve is no longer functioning effectively, despite its apparent inital successes and instead a gradient of fishing pressure exists with distance from the nearest fishing community.
Pina-Amargos, F., Gonzalez-Sanson, G., Martin-Blanco, F. and Valdvivia, A. (2014) Peer J 2:e274; DOI: 10.7717/peerj.274
Gardens of the Queen in Cuba, has had a positive effect on the abundance of commercially valuable reef fish species in relation to neighboring unprotected areas.
White C, Costello C (2014) PLoS Biol 12(3): e1001826. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001826
Proposal to close the high seas to fishing was analyzed using a bioeconomic model. Found that closing all high seas to fishing would give rise to large gains in fisheries profit,fisheries yields, and fish stock conservation.
Areas: High Seas
Harrison, H. B., Williamson, D. H., Evans, R. D., Almany, G. R., Thorrold, S. R., Russ, G. R., Feldheim, K.A., van Herwerden, L., Planes, S., Srinivasan, M., Berumen, M. L., and Jones, G. P. (2012) Current Biology, 22(11), 1023-1028 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.008
Effective, no-take reserves can provide a significant amount of recruitment and contribute to the replenishment of populations at both reserved and fished sites on a scale benefiting local stakeholders
Howarth, L. M., Wood, H. L., Turner, A. P., & Beukers-Stewart, B. D. (2011) Marine biology, 158(8), 1767-1780
This study investigated the effects of a fully protected marine reserve on commercially valuable scallops and benthic habitats in Lamlash Bay, Isle of Arran, United Kingdom. Dive surveys found the abundance of juvenile scallops to be greater within the marine reserve than outside.
Pelc, R. A., Warner, R. R., Gaines, S. D., Paris, C. B. (2010) PNAS, 107 (43). 18266-18271 DOI: Biology, 25, 1-10 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0907368107
Given the magnitude of increased production typically found in marine reserves, benefits from larval export are nearly always large enough to offset increased mortality outside reserves due to displaced fishing effort.
Cudney-Bueno, R., Lavin, M. F., Silvio, G. M., Raimondi, P. T. and Shaw, W. W. (2009) PLoS ONE 4(1): e4140. doi:10.1371/journal.pone. 0004140
Enhancement occurred rapidly (2yrs), with up to a three-fold increase in density juveniles found in fished areas at the downstream edge of the reserve network, but other fishing areas within the network were unaffected
Areas: Gulf of California, Mexico
Russ, G. R., Cheal, A. J., Dolman, A. M., Emslie, M. J., Evans, R. D., Miller, I., Sweatman, H., and Williamson, D. H. (2008) Current Biology, 18(12), R514-R515 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.04.016
Densities of primary fisheries targets, like coral trout in the Great Barrier Reef, significantly increased in just two years due to a no-take management approach vs. in areas where fishing was allowed
White C, Kendall, B. E., Gaines, S., Siegel, D. A. and Costello C (2008) Ecology Letters 11(4): 370-379 doi: 10.11111/j.1461-0248.2007.01151.x
Our results indicate that reserves can still benefit fisheries, even those targeting species that are expensive to harvest. Furthermore, reserve area and harvest intensity can be traded off with little impact on profits, allowing for management flexibility while still providing higher profit than attainable under conventional management
Gradients of abundance of fish across no-take marine reserve boundaries: evidence from Philippine coral reefs
Abesamis, R.S., Russ, G.R., Alcala, A.C. (2006) Aquat Conserv 16:349-371
Apo Reserve had a gradient of abundance of target fish across at least one boundary, a result consistent with spillover.
Areas: Apo Island, Philippines
Shears, N. T., Grace, R. V., Usmar, N. R., Kerr, V., & Babcock, R. C. (2006) Biological Conservation, 132(2), 222-231
In assessing the efficacy of a no-take vs. partial protection marine reserve, spiny lobster were found to be 11 times more abundant and have 25 times higher biomass than those spiny lobster in the partially-protected marine reserve.
Abesamis, R.S., Russ, G.R. (2005) Ecol Appl 15: 1798-1812
Both density and modal size increased outside the reserve close to 200-300m), but not father from (300-500m), the reserve boundary over the 20 years of reserve protection.
Areas: Apo Island, Philippines
A long-term, spatially replicated experiment test of the effect of marine reserves on local fish yields
Alcala, A.C., Russ, G.R., Maypa, A.P., Calumpong, H.P. (2005) Can J Fish Aquat Sci 62:98-108
These experiments, plus spillover evidence, suggest that marine reserves may help maintain, or even enhance, local fishery yields in the long-term.
Beukers-Stewart, B. D., Vause, B. J., Mosley, M. W. J., Rossetti, H. L. and Brand, A. R. (2005) Marine Ecology Progress Series 298:189-204
These patterns of scallop density, age and size structure resulted in the exploitable biomass of scallops being nearly 11 times higher in the closed area than in the fished area by 2003, and the reproductive biomass was 12.5 times higher
Areas: Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Denny, C. M., Willis, T. J., & Babcock, R. C. (2004). Marine Ecology Progress Series, 272, 183-190.
Post-establishment of a no-take status, snapper populations showed significant increases in abundance (7.4 times higher), biomass (818% higher), and fecundity (11-18 times higher)
Gell, F.R. and Roberts, C.M. (2003) Trends in Ecology & Evolution 18(9), 448-455 DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(03)00189-7
By integrating large-scale marine reserves into fisheries management plans, the decline in global fisheries and destruction of crucial habitats can be reversed.
Russ, G.R., Alcala, A.C., and Maypa, A.P. (2003) Marine Ecology Progress Series, 264, 15-20
Biomass of surgeonfish tripled over 18 years within the reserve and catch per unit effort was 45 times higher, supporting the idea that no-take marine reserves can benefit fisheries through the ‘spillover effect.’
Areas: Apo Island, Philippines
Tawake, A., Gell, F. and Roberts, C.(2002) WWF US, Washington D.C. pp 59-62
Extensive field research confirms many of these predictions. Reserves worldwide have led to increases in abundance, body size, biomass and reproductive output of exploited species
Significance of marine protected areas in central Chile as seeding grounds for the gastropod Concholepas concholepas
Manriquez, P. H. and Castilla, J. C. (2001) Marine Ecology Progress Series 215: 201–211.
We concluded that protected areas may play an important role in the natural replinishment of C. concholepas stocks
Areas: Las Cruces, Chile
Roberts, C. M., Bohnsack, J. A., Gell, F., Hawkins, J. P., and Goodridge, R. (2001) Science, 294(5548), 1920-1923 DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5548.1920
Marine reserves can enhance fisheries adjacent to the reserves by increasing catches of artisanal fishers by, thus marine reserves have the dual potential to support fisheries and conservation.
McClanahan, T.R. and Mangi, S. (2000) Ecological Applications 10:1792-1805 doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(2000)010
The role of a marine protected area in enhancing local fisheries, through the emigration or spillover of exploitable fishes, was studied in a coral reef park (Mombasa Marine Park, Kenya) and fishery over a seven-year period during a time when the park's border changed and pull seines were eliminated. On the managed side, the park significantly increased the catch per fisher and catch per area by >50%, but even after the park's size was reduces , the total catch was reduced by ~30%
Areas: Mombasa Marine Park, Kenya
Mosquera, I., Côté, I. M., Jennings, S., & Reynolds, J. D. (2000) Animal Conservation, 3(4), 321-332.
This meta-analysis found fish to be 3.7 time more abundant inside no-take marine reserves than outside reserve boundaries, mainly due to a positive response of species that had been targeted by fisheries.
The design, function and use of marine fishery reserves as tools for the management and conservation of the Belize barrier reef
Carter, J.C., Bustamante, R.H. (1997) Proc Eighth Int Coral Reef Symp, Balboa 2:1911-1916
In sites where fishing has been halted over time, fishes are more numerous and on average larger relative to unprotected areas.
Queen conch, Strombus gigas, in fished and unfished locations of the Bahamas: effects of a marine fishery reserve on adults, juveniles, and larval production
Stoner, A. W. and Ray, M. (1996) Fish Bull (Wash DC) 94:551-565
A comparison of population structure of the commercially and culturally significant gastropod Strombus gigas, queen conch, was made between a fished area and an MFR in the Exuna Cays, an island chain in the central Bahamas
Areas: Exuna Cays, Bahamas
Alcala, A.C. (1988) Ambio 17:194-199
The data revealed that protection at the ten-year site was responsible for maintaining high fish yields; it was also shown that the reserve exported biomass to the non-reserve (fishing) area.
Waldron, A., Adams, V., Allan, J., Arnell, A., Asner, G., Atkinson, S., . . . Austin Beau, J. (2020).
The current report is based on the work of over 100 economists/scientists, analyzing the global economic implications of a 30% PA target for agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and the PA/nature sector itself. Our financial analysis showed that expanding PAs to 30% would generate higher overall output (revenues) than non-expansion (an extra $64 billion-$454 billion per year by 2050). In the economic analysis, only a partial assessment was possible, focusing on forests and mangroves. For those biomes alone, the 30% target had an avoided-loss value of $170-$534 billion per year by 2050, largely reflecting the benefit of avoiding the flooding, climate change, soil loss and coastal storm-surge damage that occur when natural vegetation is removed. The value for all biomes would be higher.
Brander, L., van Beukering, P., Nijsten, L., McVittie, A., Baulcomb, C., Eppink, F. V., & Cado van der Lelij, J. A. (2020). Marine Policy, 116, 103953.
The results show that the global benefits of expanding MPAs exceed their costs by a factor 1.4–2.7 depending on the location and extent of MPA expansion. Targeting protection towards pristine areas with high biodiversity yields higher net returns than focusing on areas with low biodiversity or areas that have experienced high human impact.
Rising, J.A. and G.M. Heal (2014) SSRN 2380445 (2014)
60% of country regions currently have insufficient protected areas to generate economic benefits, where the average break-even point for economic benefits of MPAs is at 8.5% of marine area.
Reinventing residual reserves in the sea: are we favouring ease of establishment over need for protection?
Devillers, R., Pressey, R. L., Grech, A., Kittinger, J. N., Edgar, G. J., Ward, T. and Watson, R. (2014) Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2445
A review of global MPAs highlighted a global pattern of established MPAs in areas of little consequence to existing human extractive use.
Areas: Great Barrier Reef
Edgar, G. J., R. D. Stuart-Smith, T. J.Willis, S. Kininmonth, S. C. Baker, S. Banks, N. S. Barrett, M. A. Becerro, A. T. F. Bernard, J. Berkhout, C. D. Buxton, S. J. Campbell, A. T. Cooper, M. Davey, S. C. Edgar, G. Försterra, D. E. Galván, A. J. Irigoyen, D. J. Kushner, R. Moura, P. E. Parnell, N. T. Shears, G. Soler, E. M. A. Strain & Russell J. Thomson. (2014) Nature doi:10.1038/nature13022.
Conservation benefits of 87 MPAs investigated worldwide increase exponentially with the accumulation of five key features: no take, well enforced, old (>10 years), large (>100 km2), and isolated by deep water or sand.
Claudet, J., Osenberg, C. W., Benedetti-Cecchi, L., Domenici, P., García-Charton, J.-A., Pérez-Ruzafa, Á., Badalamenti, F., Bayle-Sempere, J., Brito, A., Bulleri, F., Culioli, J.-M., Dimech, M., Falcón, J. M., Guala, I., Milazzo, M., Sánchez-Meca, J., Somerfield, P. J., Stobart, B., Vandeperre, F., Valle, C. and Planes, S. (2008) Ecology Letters, 11: 481–489. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01166.x
Reserve size and age do matter: Increasing the size of the no-take zone increases the density of commercial fishes within the reserve compared with outside; whereas the size of the buffer zone has the opposite effect.
Halpern, B.S. (2003) Ecological applications, 13(sp1), 117-137.
Results from 89 studies found that nearly any marine ecosystem, regardless of their size, could benefit from a no-take reserve by increasing key biological measures such as density, biomass, size of marine species, and diversity.
Halpern, B. S. and Warner, R. R. (2003) Proc Royal Society London Ser B Biol Sci 270:1871-1878
Given the high fecundity of most marine organisms and recent evidence for limited distance of larval dispersal, it is likely that reserves can both maintain their own biodiversity and service nearby non-reserve areas
Kelsey E. Roberts, Olivia Hill, Carly N. Cook (2020). Marine Policy, Volume 112, 2020, 103766, ISSN 0308-597X, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103766.
This study found that the public perception of Australia’s MPA system differs significantly from actual implementation. Only 25% of the Australian MPA system restricts fishing while a majority of Australians believe that their MPA system provides no-take protections.
Efficient and equitable design of marine protected areas in Fiji through inclusion of stakeholder-specific objectives in conservation planning
Gurney, G. G., Pressey, R. L., Ban, N. C., Alvarez-Romero, J. G., Jupiter, S. and Adams, V. M. (2015) Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12514
The efficacy of protected areas varies, partly because socioeconomic factors are not sufficiently considered in planning and management.
Areas: Kubulau, Fiji
Leisher, C.D., van Beukering, P., and Scherl, L.M. (2007) Report to the Nature Conservancy, the Australia Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources, and the Poverty Reduction and Environment Management Program at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam
Marine protected areas can effectively contribute to poverty reduction by improving fish catches via ‘spillover,’ establishing new jobs in the tourism sector, better health and nutrition from increased protein, and better local governance of reserve management.
Harvesting Clams and Data: Involving local communities in monitoring can lead to conservation success in all sorts of unanticipated ways: A case in Fiji
Tawake, A., Parks, J., Radikedike, P., Aalbersberg, B., Vuki, V. and Salafsky, N. (2001). Conservation in Practice, 2: 32-35. doi: 10.1111/j. 1526-4629.2001.tb00020x
Not only can communities do good monitoring, but also, ultimately, involving the community in monitoring leads to conservation success in all sorts of unanticipated ways
Area requirements to safeguard Earth’s marine species
Jones, K. R., Klein, C., Grantham, H. S., Possingham, H. P., Halpern, B. S., Burgess, N. D., . . . Watson, J. E. M. (2019). bioRxiv, 808790.
This analysis shows 26-41% of the ocean (depending on targets used for species representation) needs to be effectively conserved through a combination of site-based actions and wider policy responses to achieve global conservation and sustainable development agendas.
O'Leary et al. (2016) Conservation Letters 9(6) 398-404. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12247
We reviewed 144 studies to assess whether the UN target is adequate to achieve, maximize, or optimize six environmental and/or socioeconomic objectives. Results consistently indicate that protecting several tens‐of‐percent of the sea is required to meet goals (average 37%, median 35%, modal group 21–30%), greatly exceeding the 2.18% currently protected and the 10% target. The objectives we examined were met in 3% of studies with ≤10% MPA coverage, 44% with ≤30% coverage, and 81% with more than half the sea protected.