Designate a Marine Protected Area and introduce some fishing restrictions (types unspecified)

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    50%
  • Certainty
    40%
  • Harms
    0%

Source countries

Key messages

  • Four studies examined the effects of introducing unspecified types of fishing restrictions in marine protected areas on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations. Two studies were in the Indian Ocean (Seychelles, South Africa), one was a global systematic review, and one was in the Mediterranean Sea (Italy).

 

COMMUNITY RESPONSE (2 STUDIES)

  • Overall community composition (2 studies): One of two site comparison studies (one replicated) in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea found that a marine protected area with unspecified fishing restrictions (year of designation unspecified) had a different combined invertebrate and algae community composition, while the other (time since designation unspecified) found similar compositions compared to fished areas.

POPULATION RESPONSE (3 STUDIES)

  • Overall abundance (1 study): One replicated, site comparison study in the Mediterranean Sea found that a marine protected area with unspecified fishing restrictions had similar invertebrate abundance compared to unprotected fished areas (time since designation unspecified).
  • Bryozoan abundance (1 study): One site comparison study in the Indian Ocean found that a marine protected area with unspecified fishing restrictions (year of designation unspecified) had similar abundance of bryozoans compared to fished areas.
  • Crustacean abundance (1 study): One global systematic review found that marine protected areas with unspecified fishing restrictions had more lobsters compared to fished areas.
  • Echinoderm abundance (2 studies): One of two site comparison studies (one replicated) in the Indian Ocean found that marine protected areas with unspecified fishing restrictions had more sea cucumbers after more than 20 years but the other found fewer sea lilies (year of designation unspecified) compared to fished areas.
  • Hydrozoan abundance (1 study): One site comparison study in the Indian Ocean found that a marine protected area with unspecified fishing restrictions (year of designation unspecified) had more hydrozoans compared to fished areas.
  • Mollusc abundance (1 study): One global systematic review found that marine protected areas with unspecified fishing restrictions had more scallops compared to fished areas.
  • Sponge abundance (1 study): One site comparison study in the Indian Ocean found that a marine protected area with unspecified fishing restrictions (year of designation unspecified) had more sponges compared to fished areas.
  • Tunicate abundance (1 study): One site comparison study in the Indian Ocean found that a marine protected area closed to fishing with unspecified fishing restrictions (year of designation unspecified) had similar abundance of ascidians/sea squirts (tunicates) compared to fished areas.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A site comparison study in 2001–2004 in areas of seabed in the Indian Ocean, off the south coast of South Africa (Götz et al. 2009) found that sites inside a marine protected area closed to fishing (exact restrictions unspecified) had a different overall invertebrate and algae community composition and abundances of three of five species groups compared to adjacent fished sites. Community data were presented as graphical analyses. Protected sites had statistically higher abundance (as percentage cover) of sponges (25%) and hydrozoans (9%) compared to fished sites (sponges: 19%; hydrozoans: 7%), lower abundance of sea lilies (closed: 6% vs fished: 10%), and similar abundances of sea quirts (15% vs 13%) and bryozoans (20% vs 24%) than fished sites. Annually in 2001–2004, video footage was recorded at 10–30 m depth at 2–7 sites surveyed inside the protected area (year of designation unspecified), and 4–13 sites outside. At each site, a 225 m2 area was video-recorded. Footage was analysed and cover of five invertebrate taxa and algae assessed.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, site comparison study in 2008 of 21 sites in seven coral reefs areas across the inner islands of the Seychelles, Indian Ocean (Cariglia et al. 2013) found that sea cucumbers (thirteen species combined) tended to be more abundant inside marine protected areas prohibiting some fishing (exact restrictions unspecified) compared to adjacent fished areas. Seventy-six percent of all sea cucumbers (thirteen species combined) were found within protected areas. The average abundance of sea cucumbers appeared higher in protected areas (2/154 m2), compared to fished areas (0/154 m2), although no statistical test was reported. The probability of finding sea cucumbers was reported to be higher in protected areas (79%), compared to fished areas (48%). In April, divers counted sea cucumbers in three protected areas (established >20 years prior; date unspecified) and four unprotected areas (three sites/area) within sixteen 154 m2 circles/site.

    Study and other actions tested
  3. A systematic review of 27 studies published before February 2011 of marine protected areas partially prohibiting fishing (restrictions unspecified) across the world (Sciberras et al. 2013) found that they had greater abundances of scallops and lobsters compared to outside where fishing was fully allowed. Average lobster abundance was 0.53 times higher, and scallop density 2.33 times higher, inside marine protected areas compared to outside. Exact species were not specified. Abundance data were not reported, but the outcome of analysis was reported as statistical model results. The selected studies compared invertebrate abundance inside and outside 25 marine protected areas with partial fishing prohibition. The abundance data were extracted and used in a meta-analysis.

    Study and other actions tested
  4. A replicated, site comparison study (year unspecified) of 28 sites across 14 rocky reef areas in the western Mediterranean Sea, Italy (Piazzi et al. 2016) found that protected areas with ‘low human pressures’ (restrictions unspecified) had similar overall invertebrate and algae community composition to unprotected areas with ‘high human pressures’, and similar invertebrate abundance. Community composition data were presented as graphical analyses. Percent cover of invertebrates was similar in protected (6.2%) and unprotected areas (3.7%). Invertebrates and algae were surveyed at two sites inside each of seven marine protected areas (fishing restrictions unspecified) and seven unprotected areas. All protected areas were established between 1997 and 1999 and reported to “preserve reefs from all human activities”. At 30–40 m depth, 10 plots (0.2 m2) were photographed at three 10 m2 locations/site. Invertebrates and algae species were identified and their % cover estimated from each photograph. Date of study unspecified.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Lemasson, A.J., Pettit, L.R., Smith, R.K. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation. Pages 635-732 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

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Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation - Published 2020

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