Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marine reserves provide baby bonus to fisheries

Date:
May 29, 2012
Source:
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Summary:
Scientists have gathered the first conclusive evidence that marine reserves can help restock exploited fish populations on neighboring reefs which are open to both commercial and recreational fishing. The groundbreaking study was carried out in the Keppel Island group on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

An international team of scientists has gathered the first conclusive evidence that marine reserves can help restock exploited fish populations on neighbouring reefs which are open to both commercial and recreational fishing.
Credit: Courtesy of ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies; Image Philippa Mantel

An international team of scientists has gathered the first conclusive evidence that marine reserves can help restock exploited fish populations on neighbouring reefs which are open to both commercial and recreational fishing.

Related Articles


The groundbreaking study was carried out in the Keppel Island group on Australia's Great Barrier Reef by researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS), in conjunction with other leading research institutions, and is reported in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology.

Its findings help to resolve a long-running debate in Australia and worldwide about whether marine reserves, areas closed to all forms of fishing, can help to replenish fish numbers in areas left open to fishing.

Using DNA fingerprinting technology, the team of scientists tracked the dispersal pathways of baby coral trout and stripey snappers from the marine reserves in the Keppel island group where they were spawned. They found that a very large proportion of baby fish settled on reefs in areas that are open to fishing, up to 30 kilometres from the place they were spawned. Most of the baby fish settled within 1-5kms of reserves but a significant proportion dispersed 10 kilometres or more to find a new home.

"We found that the marine reserves, which cover about 28 percent of the 700 hectare reef area of the Keppels, had in fact generated half the baby fish, both inside and outside of the reserves," says lead author Hugo Harrison, of CoECRS and James Cook University. "The study provides conclusive evidence that fish populations in areas open to fishing can be replenished from populations within marine reserves."

Team leader Professor Geoff Jones adds "We've known for some time that if you close an area of reef to fishing, both fish numbers and sizes within the reserve increase. But the fate of the offspring of fish in the reserves has been a long-standing mystery. Now we can clearly show that the benefits of reserves spread beyond reserve boundaries, providing a baby bonus to fisheries."

The research establishes proof-of-concept for the idea that setting aside networks of marine reserves within a larger managed ecosystem like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, can simultaneously provide significant fishery and conservation benefits.

Local recreational fishers worked with the research team to sample adult fish populations within the reserves. Recreational fishing sector representative and manager of the CapReef program Bill Sawynok says "Local fishers who assisted in the project have been keenly anticipating the results for some time."

Co-author Professor Garry Russ adds "Networks of marine reserves on coral reefs are a central strategy for ensuring food security for millions of people in the Coral Triangle region, just to the north of Australia. This study in the Keppel Islands, for the first time, demonstrates that reserve networks can contribute substantially to the long-term sustainability of coral reef fisheries, and thus to food security and livelihoods in the region."

The researchers conclude "The fact that local fishing communities can directly benefit from a source of recruitment from their local reserves is the strongest support yet that reserve networks can be an effective tool for sustaining future generations of both fish and fishers."

This work was funded by the Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility (MTSRF), the Australian Research Council and the Packard Foundation.

Their paper Larval Export From Marine Reserves and the Recruitment Benefit for Fish and Fisheries by Hugo B. Harrison, David H. Williamson, Richard D. Evans, Glenn R. Almany, Simon R. Thorrold, Garry R. Russ, Kevin A. Feldheim, Lynne van Herwerden, Serge Planes, Maya Srinivasan, Michael L. Berumen and Geoffrey P. Jones appears in the latest online issue of Current Biology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. HugoB. Harrison, DavidH. Williamson, RichardD. Evans, GlennR. Almany, SimonR. Thorrold, GarryR. Russ, KevinA. Feldheim, Lynne vanHerwerden, Serge Planes, Maya Srinivasan, MichaelL. Berumen, GeoffreyP. Jones. Larval Export from Marine Reserves and the Recruitment Benefit for Fish and Fisheries. Current Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.04.008

Cite This Page:

ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Marine reserves provide baby bonus to fisheries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102425.htm>.
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. (2012, May 29). Marine reserves provide baby bonus to fisheries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102425.htm
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies. "Marine reserves provide baby bonus to fisheries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120529102425.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

500 Snakes Surprise Construction Workers In Canada

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Hundreds of snakes, disturbed by a construction project, were relocated to a wildlife rescue association in Canada. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Zookeepers Copy Animal Poses In Hilarious Viral Photos

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Zookeepers at the Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, Australia decided to take some of their favorite animal photos and recreate them by posing just like the animals. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


DNA Evidence Shows That Marine Reserves Help to Sustain Fisheries

May 24, 2012 Biologists have presented the first evidence that areas closed to all fishing are helping to sustain valuable Australian fisheries. The scientists applied a forensic DNA profiling approach to track ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins