Journal cover Journal topic
Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal
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Volume 16, issue 2
Web Ecol., 16, 113–122, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-16-113-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Web Ecol., 16, 113–122, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-16-113-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 05 Sep 2016

Standard article | 05 Sep 2016

The effects of marine protected areas over time and species' dispersal potential: a quantitative conservation conflict attempt

Aristides Moustakas Aristides Moustakas
  • School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK

Abstract. Protected areas are an important conservation measure. However, there are controversial findings regarding whether closed areas are beneficial for species and habitat conservation as well as for harvesting. Species dispersal is acknowledged as a key factor for the design and impacts of protected areas. A series of agent-based models using random diffusion to model fish dispersal were run before and after habitat protection. All results were normalized without the protected habitat in each scenario to detect the relative difference after protecting an area, all else being equal. Model outputs were compared with published data regarding the impacts over time of MPAs on fish biomass. In addition, data on species' dispersal potential in terms of kilometres per year are compared with model outputs. Results show that fish landings of species with short dispersal rates will take longer to reach the levels from before the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were established than landings of species with long dispersal rates. Further, the establishment of an MPA generates a higher relative population source within the MPA for species with low dispersal abilities than for species with high dispersal abilities. Results derived here show that there exists a feasible win-win scenario that maximizes both fish biomass and fish catches.

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