Fisheries and biodiversity benefits of using static versus dynamic models for designing marine reserve networks
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Marine reserves are widely used to manage for the potentially conflicting objectives of conserving biodiversity and improving fisheries. The fisheries and conservation benefits of alternative reserve designs would ideally be assessed using dynamic models, which consider spillover of fish and larvae to fished areas, and the displacement of fishers to unprotected sites. In practice, however, decisions about the location of marine reserves generally rely on cheaper and faster static models. Static models analyze only spatial patterns in habitats, and typically assume fisheries profits are reduced by the amount that was generated in areas designated as reserves. To help determine the benefits of developing dynamic fisheries models, we assessed how well static models estimate costs of reserve systems to fisheries and how outcomes from reserves designed using either static or dynamic models differ. We tested these questions in two case studies, the network of marine protected areas in southern California, USA and the proposed Tun Mustapha Marine Park in Malaysia. Static models could either under or over-estimate the cost of reserve plans to fisheries, depending on the relative importance of fisher movement and larval dispersal dynamics. Despite the inaccuracy of static models for estimating costs, reserves designed using static models were similar to those designed with dynamic models if fisheries were well managed; or larval dispersal networks were simple. If larval networks were complex or there was overfishing, dynamic models generated substantially different reserve networks from static models, which improved conservation outcomes by up to 10% and fishing profits by up 20%. The time-scale of management was also important, because only dynamic models accounted for larval dispersal, so could find reserves that maximized the long-term benefits of larval spillover. Our case studies provide quantitative support for the assertion that static models can be useful for planning marine reserves for short-term objectives in well managed fisheries, but are not reliable for evaluating the relative costs of reserves to fisheries.
Copyright remains with the author[s] 2015. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified