• biodiversity;
  • conservation;
  • coral reefs;
  • ecosystem;
  • no-take;
  • refuge

Abstract Establishing permanent ‘no-take’ marine reserves, areas where fishing and all other extractive activities are prohibited, is an attractive but under-utilized tool for fisheries management. Marine reserves could potentially deal with many fishery problems that are not effectively addressed by other traditional management measures; they also offer numerous social, economic, and scientific benefits not directly related to fisheries. Limited but growing research has shown beneficial biological and economic effects of marine reserves on fisheries. More research is needed, especially at larger scales, to determine the ideal marine reserve size, number and location necessary to optimize fisheries productivity and resource conservation. Sufficient evidence is available to justify the expanded use of marine reserves in an adaptive approach to fisheries management.