Greg James
Marine Parks

Engaging Communities in Marine Protected Areas: Concepts and Strategies from Current Practice

Click here to read a report on a project performed by researchers at the University of Michigan. Authors are Kate Davis, Matt Ferris-Smith, Margaret Lee, Samantha Miller, Joe Otts, Michelle Zilinskas.

Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas

New from PLOS ONE comes Changes in Fish Assemblages following the Establishment of a Network of No-Take Marine Reserves and Partially-Protected Areas. The authors examined both no-take and partially-protected areas for changes in fish abundance, which were 38% greater in no-take areas versus partially-protected ones. However, there were no consistent differences and thus no evidence that one type of area performed better than the other.

Key Findings from Fisheries Research: Marine Protected Areas as a Fisheries Management Tool

The NOAA National Marine Protected Areas Center has published a new report, Key Findings from Fisheries Research: Marine Protected Areas as a Fisheries Management Tool. "In 2011, The MPA Center co-sponsored a special symposium on MPAs and Fisheries Management at the American Fisheries Society meeting. Many of these abstracts were published in Fisheries Research journal in 2013. This is sum-mary of the key findings from the journal articles."

Some Informative Reports

Here are a couple of reports I've gathered from around the web relating to Marine Park stocks and management. All credit for these reports goes to the individuals and agencies responsible for producing each one.

  1. PIRSAFish 2009-2010 Blue Crab Assessment Report
  2. PIRSA Draft Abalone Management Plan
  3. NSW Marine Parks Audit Report February 2012
  4. SARDI Southern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery Status Report (Provisional), 2011/2012
  5. PIRSAFish Possession Limits

While Greg James endeavours to provide the most up-to-date information, please be aware that it is subject to change and you should always check the relevant websites to ensure you have the most accurate information.

Can protected areas change fish behaviour?

The following text block is taken from MPA News Vol. 12 No. 2. Greg James gratefully acknowledges the source and author of this work.

A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation offers evidence that fish could behave differently inside a no-take area compared to outside. A research team in New Zealand studied snapper across an area that encompassed a no-take MPA (Leigh Marine Reserve) and adjacent fished waters, using acoustic telemetry tags to monitor the fishes' movement. In general, the fish exhibited two types of home ranges. One was relatively small (about 900 m in linear distance) and all of the fish tagged within the reserve exhibited this home range behavior. The other home range type was significantly larger (2100 m on average), and half of the fish tagged in non-reserve waters exhibited this home range behavior.

Darren Parsons of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, who led the study, says it suggests that some aspect of the reserve environment may encourage extreme residency. Perhaps the reserve effectively "selects" for individuals with a predisposition for a smaller home range, he says. In other words, the individuals with larger ranges end up spilling over to the fished areas and are caught.

"The findings of this paper add weight to the use of reserves as biodiversity conservation tools," says Parsons. "Our findings are more neutral with respect to using reserves for fisheries management." He cautions against interpreting the study as a case against the long-term promise of spillover from reserves as a fisheries tool. "If reserves encourage or select for highly residential individuals, this does not preclude spillover from happening. Spillover is likely to operate via home range shifts. The evidence we present provides no indication of whether home range shifts are more or less likely for residential vs. more mobile animals." He adds that, beyond the spillover effect, reserves offer other significant fishery management benefits, including as insurance against stock collapses and as a fishery regulation tool in areas of otherwise unregulated extraction.

For more information: Darren Parsons
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Auckland, New Zealand.

The paper "Responses to marine reserves: Decreased dispersion of the sparid Pagrus auratus (snapper)" is in the September 2010 issue of Biological Conservation.

A question Greg James would like to ask:

What happens to our beautiful and idyllic coastline in the proposed Marine Parks and the associated activities (prefessional and recreational fishing, tourism, acquaculture, sight-seeing, etc.) in the event of an oil spill similar to the recent Gulf of Mexico catastrophe?

Here is the extract of a very recent article from the US based publication 'Marine Park Area News – Greg James would like to thank & acknowledge the source of this article with all due rights and respect...

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill: The Experiences of MPA Managers So Far, and What Lessons Can Be Learned

"It is mid-July and the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico is still spewing crude oil from the underground field into the water column. The spill began nearly three months ago, and several million barrels of oil have been released from the seafloor wellhead. Oil company BP and the US Coast Guard continue efforts to shut off the well's flow.

The latest efforts involve installing a new cap on the broken wellhead and drilling relief wells kilometers below the seafloor. Neither strategy is guaranteed to be successful. The spill is an environmental catastrophe.

Thick sludge has come ashore in many areas of the US Gulf Coast, oiling wildlife, beaches, and mangroves. BP's heavy use of dispersant chemicals, applied at the source of the blowout, has resulted in large plumes of emulsified oil suspended in the water column.

The US National Marine Fisheries Service has closed a large area of its Gulf waters to fishing in order to ensure public safety."

At the risk of being a tad too controversial, Greg James would like to take a couple of moments to consider and question the impacts in little old South Australia if this happened from the oil exploration fields south of Kangaroo Island.

  1. How would the water intakes of desalination plants be affected?
  2. How would our delicate and vulnerable marine animals and habitats cope with several million brrels of crude oil washing in along the coast at places such as:

    • Coffin Bay
    • Franklin Harbor
    • False Bay (cuttlefish haven)
    • Pondalowie Bay
    • Wallaroo and other aquaculture sites
    • Marion Reef at Edithburgh
    • Sultana and Black Points
    • Caroline Bay
    • Glenelg and Brighton beaches
    • The beautiful reefs from Pt. Noarlunga through to Aldinga, Sellicks and Second Valley

  3. What is the comparative area of the size of the Guld of Mexico as to the size of the Gulf St. Vincent & Spencer Gulf? i.e., how feasible is it that even a smaller scale oil spill in our own backyard would have the same impact on our coastline?
  4. How would we all cope with an environmental catastrophe that closed the entire gulfs of South Australia?

Greg James feels that this one is a bridge too far, however it is only my personal point of view. So email me your comments!