Marine no-take zones are succeeding beyond expectations
Jeremy Hance,
July 16, 2008

Two recent reports show that marine no-take zones, where fishing is completely prohibited, are helping to rejuvenate commercial species faster than expected.

The BBC reports that England's only no-take zone off Lundy Island has shown a significant increase in lobsters above the minimum catch-size: six to seven times more than neighboring areas. Juvenile lobsters have also doubled in and around the no-take zone. The no-take zone was established five years ago by the organization Natural England and the Devon Sea Fisheries Committee.

Despite the success, England is not planning new no-take zones anytime soon. According to the BBC, the government is currently considering "marine conservation zones" allowing an unspecified amount of protection, but not the full prohibition that conservationists hoped for. The government is under pressure from fishermen who are generally wary of no-take zones. Conservationists, however, believe that no-take zones will provide a boon to fishing stocks, allowing commercial species, such as lobster, a haven to reproduce and grow before migrating to other areas where they can be caught.

In Australia, another no-take zone has shown very positive results. According to National Geographic News, coral trout have increased 68 percent in a no-take zone in the Great Barrier Reef. What was so surprising is that this increase has taken place in just two years. The Great Barrier Reef no-take zone is the world's largest at 100,000 square kilometers, covering one-third of the reef.

Although commercial species are recovering in these no-take zones, the zones were not just established for industry and human consumption. They are also important conservation areas for thousands of marine species, many which are threatened by large-scale fishing even though they are not target species.


Marine protected areas boost fishing yields December 18, 2006
A new study conducted on the reefs of Madagascar found that marine protected areas can benefit the fishing industry. The study, authored by Frances Humber, a scientist with conservation group Blue Ventures, found that implementing seasonal fishing closures for octopus boosted returns for fishermen when the closed areas were reopened to fishing after seven months. Octopus yields increased 13 times while the total weight of octopus caught jumped 25 times.

Great Barrier Reef shark populations collapsing finds study December 4, 2006
Coral reef shark populations are declining rapidly due to fishing according to research published in the December 5th issue of the journal Current Biology. The paper says that "no-take zones" -- areas where fishing is prohibited -- can be effective in protecting sharks but only when the no-take regulations are strictly enforced.

Jeremy Hance, (July 16, 2008).

Marine no-take zones are succeeding beyond expectations.