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An MPA design approach to benefit fisheries: maximising larval export and minimising redundancy


Tong, C and Hock, K and Krueck, NC and Tyazhelnikov, V and Mumby, PJ, An MPA design approach to benefit fisheries: maximising larval export and minimising redundancy, Diversity, 13, (11) Article 586. ISSN 1424-2818 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright: 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license (

DOI: doi:10.3390/d13110586


In the design of marine protected areas (MPAs), tailoring reserve placement to facilitate larval export beyond reserve boundaries may support fished populations and fisheries through recruitment subsidies. Intuitively, capturing such connectivity could be purely based on optimising larval dispersal metrics such as export strength. However, this can lead to inefficient or redundant larval connectivity, as the subset of sites with the best connectivity metrics might share many of the same connections, making them, collectively, poor MPA candidates to provide recruitment subsidies to unprotected sites. We propose a simple, dynamic algorithm for reserve placement optimisation designed to select MPAs sequentially, maximising larval export to the overall network, whilst accounting for redundancy in supply from multiple sources. When applied to four regions in the Caribbean, the algorithm consistently outperformed approaches that did not consider supply redundancy, leading to, on average, 20% greater fished biomass in a simulated model. Improvements were most apparent in dense, strongly connected systems such as the Bahamas. Here, MPA placement without redundancy considerations produced fishery benefits worse than random MPA design. Our findings highlight the importance of considering redundancy in MPA design, and offer a novel, simple approach to improving MPA design for achieving fishery objectives.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:fish, connectivity, larval dispersal, marine reserve, MPA design, marine protected area, MPA network, fisheries management, marine ecology, coastal ecology, population ecology
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Krueck, NC (Dr Nils Krueck)
ID Code:149297
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2022-03-23
Last Modified:2022-04-08
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