Ecological effects of marine reserves in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Published source details Guarderas A.P., Hacker S.D. & Lubchenco J. (2011) Ecological effects of marine reserves in Latin America and the Caribbean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 429, 219-225.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A systematic review in 2011 of 32 studies of marine reserves in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans off Latin America and the Caribbean (Guarderas et al. 2011) found higher total (fish and invertebrates) density, biomass and body size, but not species richness, inside protected areas where fishing is prohibited compared to unprotected fished areas, and the response of fish species was greater than other groups. Data were reported as response ratios. At the food chain level, the increase in density and biomass of fish predators in no fishing reserves was greater than herbivores (fish and invertebrates combined), macroalgae and corals, and at the species level, the increase in density of fish species was greater than invertebrate species. In addition, there was no relationship between the size or age of reserves or area surveyed and the species density (fish and invertebrates) response, but it was found to be associated with one of four variables, intensity of exploitation outside the reserve (i.e. the higher the exploitation level the greater the species response). The systematic review summarized the effects of protection from fishing activities at 23 marine reserves established from 1959 to 2001 in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Four publication databases were searched from 1970–2007 and fifteen site comparison and five before-and-after site comparison studies selected. Data from inside and outside the reserves and before and after designation were used to calculate response ratios to represent the size of the effect of protection.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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