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Marine Reserves Can Be Highly Successful In Preserving And Increasing Ocean Life

Date:
March 6, 2001
Source:
University Of California, Santa Barbara
Summary:
The science of marine reserves -- protected areas of the ocean -- takes a major leap forward with the release of findings by a prominent international group of scientists that marine reserves can be highly successful in preserving and increasing ocean life.
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Feb. 17, 2001 -- “Our findings show abundant evidence that marine communities respond quickly and strongly to reserve establishment.” -- Robert Warner professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

The science of marine reserves -- protected areas of the ocean -- took a major leap forward Feb. 17 with the release of findings by a prominent international group of scientists that marine reserves can be highly successful in preserving and increasing ocean life.

The group, working together since 1997 to analyze information from all over the world, was organized through the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), a federally-funded think tank on questions of ecology, based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Today the group presented this report -- the first large scale synthesis of marine reserve studies -- at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Francisco. They will also present a new computer-based tool for designing marine reserves and release a consensus statement signed by 150 of the world’s leading scientists.

“The findings represent the first large-scale synthesis of ecological data on this issue, and have really changed the way we look at marine reserves,” said Steven D. Gaines, a member of the NCEAS group and director of the Marine Science Institute at UC, Santa Barbara.

NCEAS happens to be located near a protected ocean area, the National Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary (www.cinms.nos.noaa.gov), which is attracting national attention, as a variety of groups -- from fishing interests to environmental groups, and local and national government entities -- debate the future of the area.

The NCEAS team of scientists discussed the study of marine reserves at 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science national meeting in San Francisco. At the symposium (and subsequent 12:30 p.m. press conference), the scientists released a signed consensus statement. A policy workshop was to follow the news conference.

“The declining state of the oceans and the collapse of many fisheries creates a critical need for new and more effective management of marine biodiversity, populations of exploited species and overall health of the oceans,” said Jane Lubchenco, co-chair of the NCEAS group, past president of AAAS and chair of the Department of Zoology at Oregon State University. “At present less than 1 percent of U.S. territorial waters and less than 1 percent of the world’s oceans are protected in reserves.”

Marine reserves are areas of the sea completely protected from extractive activities, explained Lubchenco. Within a reserve all biological resources are protected through prohibitions on fishing and the removal or disturbance of any living or non-living marine resource, except as necessary for monitoring or research to evaluate the effectiveness of the reserve. Marine reserves are sometimes called “ecological reserves,” “fully-protected marine reserves,” or “no-take areas.” They are a special category of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). MPAs are defined as areas that have been designated to enhance conservation of marine resources but which often allow “extractive” activities. A network of marine reserves is a set of reserves within a biogeographic region that is connected by larval dispersal and juvenile or adult migration.

UC Santa Barbara graduate student Ben Halpern contributed a paper to the symposium entitled, “The Impact of Marine Reserves: Do Reserves Work and Does Reserve Size Matter?” In it he reviews the empirical work and discusses the theoretical literature to assess the impacts of marine reserves on several biological measures (density, biomass, size of organisms, and diversity), paying particular attention to


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University Of California, Santa Barbara. "Marine Reserves Can Be Highly Successful In Preserving And Increasing Ocean Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221072444.htm>.
University Of California, Santa Barbara. (2001, March 6). Marine Reserves Can Be Highly Successful In Preserving And Increasing Ocean Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 14, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221072444.htm
University Of California, Santa Barbara. "Marine Reserves Can Be Highly Successful In Preserving And Increasing Ocean Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221072444.htm (accessed July 14, 2024).

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