Patterns of species and functional diversity around a coastal marine reserve: a fisheries perspective



  • 1.Marine protected areas (MPAs) are expected to function simultaneously as biological conservation and fisheries management tools, but empirical evidence linking biodiversity conservation with fisheries benefits is scarce. Around the Medes Islands marine reserve (Spain, NW Mediterranean) patterns of fish catch diversity, catch (CPUE) and income (IPUE) were assessed and the economic value of diversity for local fisheries was explored by combining a Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis with geostatistics.
  • 2.Catch data were derived from the trammel net fleet operating around the MPA to gain information on species diversity, functional diversity, functional redundancy, CPUE and IPUE.
  • 3.Results revealed significant impact of both the fishing prohibition in the MPA and the presence of seagrass beds on diversity metrics, catch and income. Clear differences in functional redundancy in fish assemblages were found within the study area, indicating greater resilience of the fish assemblage against fishing pressure or human impact close to the MPA (⩽2 km). In contrast, fish assemblages beyond 2 km of the MPA border are more vulnerable to disturbance. High values of diversity, CPUE and IPUE overlapped close to the MPA border and close to seagrass beds.
  • 4.The spatial approach developed suggests that, in addition to the more commonly studied effect of density-dependent spillover of adult fish, increased levels of ecological diversity and economic diversity can also result in fisheries benefits of an MPA. Hence, the fishing regulations in and around the Medes Islands marine reserve have shown that biological conservation and fisheries benefits can be complementary in the long-term, which should be considered in future policies for MPAs or MPA networks.

Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.