Many Thanks to All / MPA & Numbers

Ron Hill Ron.Hill at
Tue Mar 12 12:50:45 EST 2002


The other place you might look for a comprehensive review of the literature
as it was available a couple of years ago is the website:

There, the book:  Marine Protected Areas: Tools for Sustaining Ocean
Ecosystem (by the Committee on the Evaluation, Design, and Monitoring of
Marine Reserves and Protected Areas in the United States, Ocean Studies
Board, National Research Council) can be read on-line or ordered.  It
includes extensive bibliographic citations.

There are also a few years of data on the web site of the National Marine
Sanctuary-Florida Keys NMS -- you can follow the links from to
the reports.

This whole discussion has once again demonstrated how important linguistics
can be.  Respondents have talked about "marine protected areas" and
"no-take" marine reserves as though they were the same thing when in fact I
think most of us mean marine reserves to be: a subset of MPAs in which all
extractive uses are prohibited.

Additional points on the discussion:

The goals (and the metrics for those goals) for both marine reserves and
MPAs must be clear and explicitly stated in the management plan with
reasonable time frames for occurrence.  A build-up of spawning biomass in
order to guard against future stock crashes or to increase fecundity are
both elements of effectiveness but they may be manifest on different time
scales than a goal to produce trophy fish for the surrounding fishing
grounds. These goal must acknowledge the constraints of biology; too often
the time frames are simply politically dictated.

One more point, marine reserves that have "not worked" because there is no
compliance (or have been in place for a short time) should not be used to
show that marine reserves do not work as tools for fishery management.
That's a little like establishing size limits, not enforcing them, and then
saying that size limits are not effective for managing fisheries.   We can
not judge the ecological performance (effectiveness) of reserves with little
or no compliance; we can only judge the effectiveness of the management

We know that the ecological underpinnings of marine reserves are sound.  We
have some demonstration that when they are implemented with reasonable
compliance that conditions within the reserve change (increased abundance
and biomass) and we have some demonstration that fisheries around the
reserves (spill-over) can be enhanced.

There is still a lot to learn about marine reserves and the functions they
may serve in fishery management but that is what keeps us all interested.



Note:  The views expressed in this message are the sole opinion of the
author and are not necessarily the views of the agency with which he is

pacaqts wrote:

> Dear Coral-Lers, Many thanks to the quick replies and references. Fyi. We
> are finalizing a MPA here in Sabah - NE of Sandakan. But the Sabah State
> Gov wants the 'numbers.'  Yes, typically they are the 'politicians' -
> based from a 'rice-bowl' syndrome that is difficult to convince on just
> 'institutional / academic 'heresay [their words].'' And typically business
> & science often does not mix well. Cheers to all,Don BakerLBT-MPASandakan,
> SabahMalaysia

  Ronald L. Hill, Ph.D. <ron.hill at>
  Research Fishery Biologist
  National Marine Fisheries Service
  Fishery Ecology Branch

  Ronald L. Hill, Ph.D.
  Research Fishery Biologist         <ron.hill at>
  National Marine Fisheries Service
  Fishery Ecology Branch
  NOAA/NMFS 4700 Ave. U              Fax: (409) 766-3508
  Galveston                          Work: (409) 766-3519
  Additional Information:
  Last Name     Hill
  First Name    Ronald
  Version       2.1

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