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Changes in fish assemblages following ten years of protection in Tasmanian marine protected areas


Barrett, NS and Edgar, GJ and Buxton, CD and Haddon, M, Changes in fish assemblages following ten years of protection in Tasmanian marine protected areas, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 345, (2) pp. 141 - 157. ISSN 0022-0981 (2007) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2007.02.007


Most studies examining effects of marine protected areas (MPAs) on fish assemblages are potentially confounded, either because they are once off comparisons between fished and unfished locations, or because they are snapshot studies over a fixed period. Here we compare long-term changes within fully protected Tasmanian marine reserves with changes at external reference sites on an annual basis over the first ten years of protection. The results highlight the importance of long-term datasets for differentiating changes occurring over differing time scales. Notable results include a statistically significant increase in abundance of Latridopsis forsteri and large fish (> 300 mm) when examined across all reserves relative to controls, and a 10-fold increase in the abundance of large fish and a doubling of per site species richness of large fish within the Tinderbox Marine Reserve relative to controls. Short-term resident species that recruit sporadically show very different patterns in reserves compared to those that recruit regularly and have long-term age-class storage. While several recent reviews have suggested size of MPAs and duration of protection has little influence on the extent of recovery, our results suggest this is not the case and that responses can be slow, complex and species-specific. The extent of localised fishing pressure appeared to have a substantial influence on the degree of change detected, potentially confounding meta-analyses of recovery rates in MPAs if overlooked as a relevant parameter.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Effects of fishing; Long-term analysis; Marine reserve; Reserve size
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments
UTAS Author:Barrett, NS (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Buxton, CD (Professor Colin Buxton)
UTAS Author:Haddon, M (Associate Professor Malcolm Haddon)
ID Code:49243
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:108
Deposited By:TAFI - Marine Research Laboratory
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2009-11-10
Downloads:14 View Download Statistics

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