This paper summarizes research on the uses of marine reserves for fisheries management. Examples emphasize temperate marine reserves.
Marine reserves commonly support higher densities and larger sizes of heavily fished species than are found outside reserves.
‘Spillover’ of individuals across reserve borders is likely to augment local catches. There are good reasons to expect such spillover, and there is limited direct evidence for it. However, the magnitude of any resulting increase in local catches will be difficult to predict.
‘Larval export’ from reserves has potential to augment recruitment over large regions, but its success will depend upon many factors that are difficult to predict. No studies have clearly tested the effects of larval export.
To design more effective marine reserves, studies are needed of the movement patterns and habitat requirements of all life stages (larval, settlement, juvenile, adult, feeding, and breeding) of targeted species.
To determine clearly the effects of marine reserves on fisheries requires replicated before/after studies.