Changes in community structure in temperate marine reserves

  • Published source details Babcock R., Kelly S., Shears N., Walker J. & Willis T. (1999) Changes in community structure in temperate marine reserves. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 189, 125-134.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit all types of fishing

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit all types of fishing

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 1995 in eight sites of kelp beds around islands in the South Pacific Ocean, northeastern New Zealand (Babcock et al. 1999) found that marine protected areas prohibiting all fishing (no-take) for 20 years had more and bigger spiny lobsters Jasus edwardsii compared to adjacent fished areas. Abundance of lobsters was greater in no-take (455 lobsters/ha) compared to fished areas (174 lobsters/ha). In addition, average lobster size was greater in no-take (110 mm), compared to fished areas (94 mm). Leigh Marine Reserve (established 1975) was surveyed in spring 1995, and Tāwharanui Marine Park (established 1982) in autumn 1995. At two sites within and two sites outside each no-take area, divers counted and visually estimated the carapace length of all lobsters within five randomly-placed 50 × 10 m transects (max. 25 m depth). 

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

  2. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A replicated, site comparison study in 1997 of two areas of sand and reef in the Tasman Sea off northeast New Zealand (Babcock et al. 1999) found that prohibiting all fishing in two adjacent marine reserves established for 15 and 22 years, resulted in an increased abundance and size of snapper Pagrus auratus compared to adjacent fished areas outside the reserves. Across both reserves, abundances of snapper above the minimum legal length (270 mm) were higher in no-take reserves than fished areas (no-take: 2–5 fish/30 min, fished: <1 fish/30 min) and average total length was greater (no-take: 327 mm, fished: 191 mm). Snapper, as the most abundant predatory fish, were surveyed in October and November 1997 at two no-take reserves: the Leigh Marine Reserve (549 ha, established 1975) and Tawharanui Marine Park, 15 km to the south (350 ha, established 1982). Maximum numbers and estimated length of snapper responding to remotely deployed baited video camera deployments of 30 minutes were recorded. Four replicate deployments were made at six sites inside and six outside the Leigh reserve, and three both inside and outside Tawharanui (72 deployments of 30 mins at 16–24 m depth).

    (Summarised by: Chris Barrett)

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