Marine conservation refers to the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas. About 200 countries worldwide committed to protecting 10% of national
marine areas by signing the Convention on Biological Diversity.
more ambitious marine reserve coverage policies that target unprotected
fishing grounds would benefit millions of people who depend on fisheries
for food and livelihoods, argue the authors of an international study,
published in the open access journal PLOS Biology
‘More ambitious marine reserve coverage policies that target unprotected fishing grounds would benefit millions of people who depend on fisheries for food and livelihoods.’
The research from Nils Krueck, Peter Mumby and colleagues at the
University of Queensland, World Wildlife Fund, and the University of
Melbourne makes the case for strict protection of 20-30% of fishing
grounds, specifically where both biodiversity and fisheries are
The study has an explicit focus on otherwise unregulated fishing
grounds. Previous research raised valid concerns that designating parts
of the fishing ground for protection can reduce the value of fisheries
when they are well managed. However, marine reserves are one of the few
means of managing fisheries where conventional regulations, such as
catch limits, are too difficult to enforce.
"Coral reefs in the south-east Asian Coral Triangle region typify
the situation in which marine reserves can be an effective management
tool. In much of the region, fisheries are highly diverse, overfishing
is commonplace, and catches are largely unassessed and unregulated.
Coral reef fisheries in particular should then benefit from closing
20-30% of fishing grounds because fish populations get a chance to
recover and are then likely to support the export of young fishes from
reserves to fished areas," said study author Dr. Krueck.
"Marine reserves alone will not be sufficient to solve the current
fisheries crisis in the Coral Triangle," study co-author Professor Mumby
said. "But our theoretic analysis of thousands of fisheries scenarios
highlights that net declines in catches after more than 10 or so years
of recovery should be rare."
"Enforcing marine reserves is a relatively simple management
action," said Mumby, "but it is still a long way from the currently
estimated 1-2% 'effective' protection on coral reefs to the recommended
20-30% strict no-take reserve coverage."