. .

Marine reserves: size and age do matter

TitleMarine reserves: size and age do matter
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsClaudet, Osenberg, Benedetti-Cecchi, Domenici, Garcia-Charton, Pérez-Ruzafa, Badalamenti, Bayle-Sempere, Brito, Bulleri, Culioli, Dimech, Falcon, Guala, Milazzo, Sanchez-Meca, Somerfield, Stobart, Vandeperre, Valle, Planes
JournalEcology Letters
Start Page481-489
Keywordsassemblage, biodiversity, Bouches de Bonifacio, buffer zone, Cabo de Palos-Islas Hormigas, Cerbère-Banyuls, Columbretes, Côte Bleue, density, design, effectiveness, fish, fish assemblage, France, heterogeneity, island, Italy, management, marine protected area, marine reserve, Medes, Mediterranean sea, network, no-take area, protected area, protection, San Antonio, Sinis - Mal di Ventre, size, Spain, species richness, Tabarca, western Mediterranean, zoning

Marine reserves are widely used throughout the world to prevent overfishing and conserve biodiversity, but uncertainties remain about their optimal design. The effects of marine reserves are heterogeneous. Despite theoretical findings, empirical studies have previously found no effect of size on the effectiveness of marine reserves in protecting commercial fish stocks. Using 58 datasets from 19 European marine reserves( dont Cabo de Palos, Tabarca , San Antonio , Columbretes , Medes Islands , Cerbere-Banyuls , Cap Couronne, Carry-le-Rouet , Bouches de Bonifacio, Sinis Mal di Ventre), we show that 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. Moreover, positive effects of marine reserve on commercial fish species and species richness are linked to the time elapsed since the establishment of the protection scheme. The reserve size-dependency of the response to protection has strong implications for the spatial management of coastal areas because marine reserves are used for spatial zoning.