No-Take Reserve Networks: Sustaining Fishery Populations and Marine Ecosystems

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Improved management approaches are needed to reduce the rate at which humans are depleting exploited marine populations and degrading marine ecosystems. Networks of no-take marine reserves are promising management tools because of their potential to (1) protect coastal ecosystem structure and functioning, (2) benefit exploited populations and fisheries, (3) improve scientific understanding of marine ecosystems, and (4) provide enriched opportunities for non-extractive human activities. By protecting marine ecosystems and their populations, no-take reserve networks can reduce risk by providing important insurance for fishery managers against overexploitation of individual populations. Replicated reserves also foster strong scientific testing of fishery and conservation management strategies. Reserve networks will require social acceptance, adequate enforcement, and effective scientific evaluation to be successful. Processes for reserve establishment should accommodate adaptive management so boundaries and regulations can be modified to enhance performance. However, even well-designed reserve networks will require continued conservation efforts outside reserve boundaries to be effective. Establishing networks of no-take reserves is a process-oriented, precautionary management strategy that protects functional attributes of marine ecosystems. As an addition to fishery management practices and other conservation efforts, no-take reserve networks may improve the status of exploited populations while conserving marine resources for future generations.


Complete list of authors: Paul K. Dayton, Dan Gotshall, Don R. Gunderson, Mark A. Hixon, Jane Lubchenco, Marc Mangel, Alec MacCall, Deborah A. McArdle, Joan Roughgarden, Richard M. Starr, Mia J. Tegner, Mary M. Yoklavich

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Fisheries, v. 24, issue 11, p. 11-25