Size and spacing rules can balance conservation and fishery management objectives for marine protected areas

Fovargue, Rachel, Bode, Michael, and Armsworth, Paul R. (2018) Size and spacing rules can balance conservation and fishery management objectives for marine protected areas. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55 (3). pp. 1050-1059.

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1. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly integrated into fishery management for coastal systems. Size and spacing rules (SSRs) have been proposed as simple MPA design guidelines, especially in regions where population connectivity data are limited.

2. We assessed whether SSRs allow managers to design effective MPA networks under spatiotemporally varying dispersal patterns using a spatially realistic population model parameterized for a commercially-exploited fish species on the Great Barrier Reef.

3. SSRs are used to design MPA networks, and population simulations are used to measure the mean and variance of the resulting population size and fishery catch.

4. We show that SSR performance is contingent on the extent of the MPA network, and whether species' connectivity data can be used to target areas for protection. For example, in the absence of connectivity data, a "many small" MPAs rule provides the least variable management outcome.

5. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that the performance and usefulness of size and spacing rules (SSRs) as guidelines for marine protected areas (MPAs) depend on the level of knowledge about larval dispersal, as well as the level of current exploitation in the fishery. These context-dependent results offer particularly relevant guidance to future MPA design projects in regions with limited connectivity data.

Item ID: 53409
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2664
Keywords: coastal ecosystems, conservation planning, fishery management, larval dispersal, marine protected areas, marine reserve, SLOSS, spatial planning, trade-offs
Copyright Information: © 2017 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2017 British Ecological Society
Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Australian Research Council (ARC) Center of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, University of Tennessee
Projects and Grants: NSF - Grant Number: DGE‐145215, NSF - Grant Number: DBI‐1300426
Date Deposited: 03 May 2018 12:01
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 100%
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