Overfishing may seriously impact fish populations and ecosystems. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are key tools for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management, yet the fisheries benefits remain debateable. Many MPAs include a fully protected area (FPA), restricting all activities, within a partially protected area (PPA) where potentially sustainable activities are permitted. An effective tool for biodiversity conservation, FPAs, can sustain local fisheries via spillover, that is the outward export of individuals from FPAs. Spillover refers to both: “ecological spillover”: outward net emigration of juveniles, subadults and/or adults from the FPA; and “fishery spillover”: the fraction of ecological spillover that directly benefits fishery yields and revenues through fishable biomass. Yet, how common is spillover remains controversial. We present a meta-analysis of a unique global database covering 23 FPAs worldwide, using published literature and purposely collected field data, to assess the capacity of FPAs to export biomass and whether this response was mediated by specific FPA features (e.g. size, age) or species characteristics (e.g. mobility, economic value). Results show fish biomass and abundance outside FPAs was higher: (a) in locations close to FPA borders (<200 m) than further away (>200 m); (b) for species with a high commercial value; and (c) in the presence of PPA surrounding the FPA. Spillover was slightly higher in FPAs that were larger and older and for more mobile species. Based on the broadest data set compiled to date on marine species ecological spillover beyond FPAs' borders, our work highlights elements that could guide strategies to enhance local fishery management using MPAs.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Fish and Fisheries|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law