4 thoughts on “Can marine protected areas save the oceans? Under certain circumstances, maybe.

  1. I actually was talking to some researchers from Auburn recently (yes, they yelled out “War Eagle” on multiple occasions) who found kind of a novel way to figure out whether artificial reefs benefit red snapper production. I’m fuzzy on the details, but they used age and growth data to match up year classes of snapper with the age of the reef.
    This seems like it would be more conclusive with more “resident” species. That said, coupled with genetic analysis, do you think this might be a way to approach measuring fish production from MPAs? Maybe a way to kind of “ground truth” the genetics?

  2. Nice article David. While I know that the focus of these research studies has been on finfish, but those are not the only exploited fisheries in the US. There are numerous fisheries that are shellfish. Many of these species are not migratory, and having a series of reserves can greatly benefit populations and catch. So while they may not be a benefit to all species, there are a number of species they could benefit, if implemented properly.

  3. Good write up, although i would like to point out/expand on a couple of things.
    1) MPA’s can still benefit fish that are wide ranging. For example, many teleosts and sharks use specific spawning/pupping areas, and even if just these locations are protected then the species is provided some protection.
    2) Adult spillover is not easy to quanitfy. It is in fact notoriously difficult to differentiate true spillover (where animals shift their movements or home range outside of the MPA due to density-dependent factors) from simple home ranges that happen to intersect the MPA boundary. A tracked fish crossing the MPA boundary may simply have a home range that includes habitat outside the MPA.

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