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An assessment of population responses of common inshore fishes and invertebrates following declaration of five Australian marine protected areas


Edgar, GJ and Barrett, NS, An assessment of population responses of common inshore fishes and invertebrates following declaration of five Australian marine protected areas, Environmental Conservation, 39, (3) pp. 271-281. ISSN 0376-8929 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2012 Cambridge University Press

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0376892912000185


In order to better understand community-level effects of fishing on temperate reefs at continental scales, changes in densities of common species in five Australian marine protected areas (MPAs) were estimated from prior to establishment to three years after enforcement of fishing prohibitions. A before-after-control-impact survey design was used, with 5–14 replicated sites distributed within both sanctuary and fishing zones associated with each MPA. On the basis of published meta-analyses, exploited species were generally expected to show increased densities. By contrast, only two of the 11 exploited fish species (the red morwong Cheilodactylus fuscus and latrid trumpeter Latridopsis forsteri), and none of seven exploited invertebrate species, showed significant signs of population recovery within sanctuary zones. Four fish species increased in biomass between survey periods. When variation in abundance data was partitioned by PERMANOVA independently for the five MPAs, the ‘zone × year’ interaction component consistently contributed only c. 4% of total variation, compared to site (c. 35%), zone (c. 8%), year (c. 8%) and residual error (c. 45%) components. Given that longer-term Australian studies show clear community-wide responses following MPA protection, the discrepancy between weak observed recovery and a priori expectations is probably due, at least in part, to the three-year period studied being insufficient to generate clear trends, to relatively low fishing pressure on some temperate Australian reefs, and to meta-analyses overestimating the likelihood of significant short-term population responses.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Cheilodactylus fuscus, effects of fishing, Latridopsis forsteri, long-term monitoring, marine reserves, Tasmania, temperate reef
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Edgar, GJ (Professor Graham Edgar)
UTAS Author:Barrett, NS (Associate Professor Neville Barrett)
ID Code:79222
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:29
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2012-08-28
Last Modified:2013-05-07
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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