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Community- and government-managed marine protected areas increase fish size, biomass and potential value
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Number of Authors: 32017 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 12, no 8, article id e0182342Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Government-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) can restore small fish stocks, but have been heavily criticized for excluding resource users and creating conflicts. A promising but less studied alternative are community-managed MPAs, where resource users are more involved in MPA design, implementation and enforcement. Here we evaluated effects of government-and community-managed MPAs on the density, size and biomass of seagrass- and coral reef-associated fish, using field surveys in Kenyan coastal lagoons. We also assessed protection effects on the potential monetary value of fish; a variable that increases non-linearly with fish body mass and is particularly important from a fishery perspective. We found that two recently established community MPAs (< 1 km(2) in size, <= 5 years of protection) harbored larger fish and greater total fish biomass than two fished (open access) areas, in both seagrass beds and coral reefs. As expected, protection effects were considerably stronger in the older and larger government MPAs. Importantly, across management and habitat types, the protection effect on the potential monetary value of the fish was much stronger than the effects on fish biomass and size (6.7 vs. 2.6 and 1.3 times higher value in community MPAs than in fished areas, respectively). This strong effect on potential value was partly explained by presence of larger (and therefore more valuable) individual fish, and partly by higher densities of high-value taxa (e.g. rabbitfish). In summary, we show that i) small and recently established community-managed MPAs can, just like larger and older government-managed MPAs, play an important role for local conservation of high-value fish, and that ii) these effects are equally strong in coral reefs as in seagrass beds; an important habitat too rarely included in formal management. Consequently, community-managed MPAs could benefit both coral reef and seagrass ecosystems and provide spillover of valuable fish to nearby fisheries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 12, no 8, article id e0182342
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Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-147086DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182342ISI: 000407548800018PubMedID: 28806740OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-147086DiVA, id: diva2:1149439
Available from: 2017-10-16 Created: 2017-10-16 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Chirico, Angelica A. D.Eklöf, Johan S.
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