Small Networks of Marine Reserves Better Than Single Large Reserves for Preserving Fish & Coral

fish shoal photo

photo: Johnny Bahru via flickr.
Large marine reserves aren't working to protect fish or coral--and therefore fishermen's livelihoods in the long term--and we should collectively shift towards more small reserves with fishing allowed in between. That's the word from the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health's Peter Sale. Sale told Reuters, "People have been creating marine protected areas for decades. Most of them are totally ineffective. You need a network of protected areas that function well. It's important to get away from single protected areas which has been the common approach."

Why aren't they working? While animals on land may stay with the protected boundaries of a reserve, in the ocean creatures swim or are carried long distances. That's one reason. The other is that when you create big no-go zones for fishermen, the bans are often simply ignored, and these areas are often excessive in terms of conservation, Sale notes.

Sale suggests creating smaller reserves, concentrated on the most vulnerable areas for fish and coral as a better solution.

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More on Marine Reserves:
Will a Global Network of Marine Reserves Reverse Troubling Trends In The Sea?
Coral Can Recover From Climate Change Damage... In Marine Reserves
From the Great Barrier Reef to the Gulf of California, Marine Reserves Work
They're Worth Big Bucks, So Why Are Marine Reserves So Rare?

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