A long-term, spatially replicated experimental test of the effect of marine reserves on local fish yields
Alcala, Angel C., Russ, Garry R., Maypa, Aileen P., and Calumpong, Hilconida C. (2005) A long-term, spatially replicated experimental test of the effect of marine reserves on local fish yields. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 62 (1). pp. 98-108.
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Do no-take marine reserves affect fishery yields? Manipulations of reserve status, and yield estimates, were made at two Philippine islands over two decades. Twenty-five percent and ten percent, respectively, of the coral reefs at Sumilon and Apo islands were made no-take reserves in 1974 and 1982. Biomass of target fish increased inside the no-take reserves 3- to 4.5-fold over 9–18 years. Biomass did not increase outside each reserve. Protection of the Sumilon reserve ceased in 1984. Biomass of targeted fish in the reserve and trap and gillnet catches of these fish declined by 42.7% and 40%, respectively, by 1985. The reserve was reprotected from 1987 to 1991 and from 1995 to 2001. Fish biomass increased in the reserve by 27.2%. Trap and gillnet catches outside the reserve increased 26.9% by 2001. The Apo reserve was protected from 1982 to 2001. Total catch of major fish families was significantly higher after (1985–2001) than before (1981) reserve establishment at Apo, increasing 41.3% between 1981 and 1998–2001. These experiments, plus spillover evidence, suggest that marine reserves may help maintain, or even enhance, local fishery yields in the long-term.