Some more evidence for the benefits of protected marine reserves brought to light by a piece appearing in Science yesterday. This follows new data presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Diego, and papers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For example, 5 years after a network of 12 marine reserves covering 488 sq km near Los Angeles, California, was established there was a jump in fish populations (blue rockfish +50%) and biomass.
There are interesting social connections, too. Joshua Cinner of James Cook University found evidence consistent with a model of people moving to places with healthy marine reserves, likely as a source of fish.
A corresponding Nature article quoted Christopher Costello saying: “Reserves allow a win–win situation — better conservation and higher profitability for fishing”. This might partly be because, as stated in Nature, ‘Marine reserves could help to make nearby fisheries profitable by acting as nurseries for fish larvae that are later spread by ocean currents.’