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Marine Reserves for . . .

By Sylvie Guénette


In the midst of several management failures, marine reserves are seen as a potential management tool to control overexploitation. In the literature, both modelling and empirical work have demonstrated that closing an area to fishing would lead to an increase in biomass and mean body size within the reserve. Benefits, in the form of increased catch, outside the reserves are sometimes shown using modelling, but the assessment of such benefits in nature is more difficult. Home range and migration rate of the targeted species are important factors to consider in the establishment of a reserve. A few cases convincingly point at the importance of the source of larvae and the direction and rate of dispersal. Reserves could also be used as a hedge against uncertainty and management mistakes by limiting fishing mortality. This study is intended to evaluate the possibility of using marine reserves to control fishing mortality for northern cod, a migrating fish. A simple dynamic pool model emphasized the importance of including stock recruitment relationship to properly assess reserves benefits. By protecting a part of the spawners, the system containing a reserve was more resilient than the control (no-reserve). However, these results were probably overly optimistic because the proportion of fish staying within the reserve was overestimated. An age- and spatially-structured model was then built to mimic the historical evolution of fishing and stock collapse of the northern cod

Year: 2000
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