New research from Florida Institute of Technology finds that fish born in marine reserves where fishing is prohibited grow to be larger, healthier and more successful at reproduction.
The findings, recently published in the online journal Plos One, highlight the positive impact of a tool of fisheries management that has long been a source of frustration and concern for fishermen, who believe such restrictions impinge on their livelihood.
In their examination of marine reserves, also known as marine protected areas or MPAs, around coral reefs in the Philippines, Robert Fidler, a Fulbright scholar who recently received his Ph.D. from Florida Institute of Technology, and his major professor, Fulbright faculty scholar Ralph Turingan, found evidence that MPAs in fact helped to produce and maintain the more desirable large-bodied and older fish within populations that have been fished by local fishermen for centuries.
“The first reaction to marine reserves by local users is traditionally, ‘You close all of these fishing areas and we can’t fish anymore in there,’” Turingan said. “That is the wrong way to think. These MPAs are actually important is sustaining fishing activities.”
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