Modelling Reef Fish Population Responses to Fisheries Restrictions in Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle

Varkey, D.; Ainsworth, C.H.; Pitcher, T.J.

Journal of Marine Biology 2012: 1-18


ISSN/ISBN: 1687-9481
Accession: 085684536

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Marine ecosystem models are used to investigate marine protected area (MPA) benefits for coral reef ecosystems located in Raja Ampat, in the heart of the Coral Triangle. Field data from an integrated and diverse research project is used to develop a spatial ecosystem model using Ecopath, Ecosim, and Ecospace modelling software. The ecological and fisheries responses of a reef ecosystem to different levels of fishing effort restrictions inside MPAs are explored. The trade-offs of allowing some fisheries to operate inside the MPAs versus designating the MPAs as no-take zones are highlighted. The results show that rapid rebuilding of reef fish populations, especially the large charismatic species, requires no-take areas. Distinct trade-offs in spillover benefits are observed between partially fished and no-take MPAs.