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Marine Reserves Benefit Artisanal Fisheries

14 December 2011, at 12:00am

SPAIN - Researchers at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) have participated in an extensive study on the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPA), showing that the larger and older the MPA the greater fisheries earning are in that area.

Frederic Vandeperre, Department of Oceanography and Fisheries of the University of the Azores as principal author, along with Raquel Goñi and Pablo Martín-Sosa, of the Oceanographic Centre of the IEO Balearic and Canary Islands, and 24 researchers from Portugal, Spain, France , Italy and Germany, have published the results of a study looking for the first time at the influence of size and age of marine protected areas on adjacent fisheries.

The study used historical data from seven marine reserves in southeastern Europe. It has been able to demonstrate a positive effect on local fisheries yields with increasing time of protection (annual rate of two to four per cent) and the extent of area closed to fishing.

The study results underscore the importance of the size of the MPA and protection level on fisheries function and indicate that it takes time to see the effects MPAs have on local fisheries.

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