Trajectories and correlates of community change in no-take marine reserves

  • Published source details Micheli F., Halpern B.S., Botsford L.W. & Warner R.R. (2004) Trajectories and correlates of community change in no-take marine reserves. Ecological Applications, 14, 1709-1723.


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 review in 2004 of 20 studies of marine reserves across the world (Micheli et al. 2004) found that fish abundance and biomass in no-take marine reserves where all fishing was prohibited for between one to 25 years, varied between species compared to fished reference sites outside reserves, and the response was influenced by food chain position, level of fishing exploitation and duration of protection. Between 5 and 91% of fish species showed strong increases in abundance in no-take reserves compared to fished reference conditions, and 0–36% decreased in abundance. Where there were differences, greater abundances in no-take reserves were found to be associated with five of six food chain groups and for species targeted by fishing or the aquarium trade, with no overall response for non-targeted fish (data reported as response ratios and statistical results). Variation in species responses was also found with time since protection, with abundances of top predators increasing gradually and accounting for greater proportions of the total biomass in the reserves (data reported as response ratios). A literature search for field studies examining the effect of prohibiting all fishing types in no-take reserves on fish communities was carried out. A meta-analysis of data from 20 studies conducted at 31 different locations in which fish abundance and/or biomass for more than 10 individual species had been compared to fished reference sites was done. All studies used visual census (belt transects and point counts) apart from one study that used trammel nets to collect the fish data.

    (Summarised by: Khatija Alliji)

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