Minimizing the short-term impacts of marine reserves on fisheries while meeting long-term goals for recovery
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Marine reserves are a promising tool for recovering overfished ecosystems. However, reserves designed to rebuild profits in the long-term may cause short-term losses—a serious issue in regions where fisheries are key for food security. We examine the tension between the long-term benefits of reserves and short-term losses, using a multispecies model of coral reef fisheries. Reserves designed to maximize long-term profits caused significant short-term losses. We model several policy solutions, where we incrementally increased either: the number of months per year that the reserve is closed to fishing; the size of the reserve; or the number species protected within the reserve. Protecting species sequentially, starting with the most valued species, provided the best outcome in the short-term with the most rapid recovery of profits. Solving the dilemma of meeting short- and long-term goals will ultimately improve the effectiveness of marine reserves for managing fisheries and conserving ecosystems.
© 2014 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Conservation and Biodiversity