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Impacts of partial marine protected areas on coastal fish communities exploited by recreational angling

AuthorsAlós, Josep ; Arlinghaus, Robert
Issue Date2013
CitationFisheries Research 137: 88-96 (2013)
AbstractThe usefulness of partial marine protected areas (MPA) that implement some form of fisheries-management regulations, but do not ban fishing and the take of fish entirely, has been questioned due its perceived limited conservation benefits. Here, we provide empirical data demonstrating fish conservation benefits of partial MPA when the stocks in question are mainly exploited by recreational angling. We studied a multi-species recreational fishery from the Balearic Islands (Mediterranean Sea) comparing three kinds of spatially close managed areas. The implementation of a partial MPA decreased the fishing pressure attracted, and the protected areas hosted greater abundances and larger-sized fish compared to areas of open access. Possibly the greatest conservation benefit of partial MPA resulted from the reduced fishing effort attracted, likely as a result of aversion of anglers to use areas where some form of management is affecting the recreational experience. In addition, the constraints on artisanal fishing may also have contributed to the conservation benefits we found. Depending on the right social and ecological context, partial MPA may therefore work as expected. Our study is observational and therefore cause-and-effect cannot be conclusively provided. However, our positive data suggest that more empirical data from other recreational fisheries and stocks should be collected before discarding the use of partial MPA in terms of providing a suitable compromise between conservation objectives and securing access to resources. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.fishres.2012.09.007
issn: 0165-7836
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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