research supports the creation of more marine reserves in the world's oceans
because, the authors say, fish can evolve to be more cautious and stay away from
research suggests that by creating additional "no-take" areas, some
fish will stay within marine reserves where they are protected from fishing.
While other fish will move around the ocean, these less mobile fish will
continue to live in the protected areas, pass this behavior on to their
offspring, and contribute to future generations to increase the overall stock.
for fish like tuna and sharks that spend a lot of time far from shore, marine
reserves are an important conservation tool," said Jonathan Mee, lead
author of the study and a faculty member at Mount Royal University who
conducted this research while completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the
University of British Columbia. "We used mathematical modelling to find
out under what conditions marine reserves might push fish to evolve to escape
a collaboration between UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre and the Sea Around
Us project at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, researchers modeled
the movements of skipjack and bluefin tuna and great white sharks in the ocean.
found evidence that within 10 years of creating new marine reserves, the
movement pattern of tuna could change while it would take up to five decades
for the longer-living great white shark to change. They also found evidence
that the greater the fishing pressure close to the reserves, the faster the
fish would evolve to stay in the protected space.
researchers argue there is a need to create more marine reserves because
fishing operations have grown exponentially in recent decades, leading to a
global catch decline of 1.2 million tons of fish per year.
boats got bigger and now we can cover the entire range of the tuna. The
distance doesn't protect them, depth doesn't protect them, nothing protects
them except our decision to remove ourselves from certain areas in the form of
marine reserves," said Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea
Around Us project and a co-author of the study. "A well-controlled marine
reserve would, at least in part, protect against the effect of overfishing
outside the reserve."
findings show fisheries managers, conservation planners, environmentalists and
professionals in the fishing industry the effectiveness of marine reserves.
reserves are likely more effective than previously thought in preventing
extinction for some species, protecting biodiversity and even acting as an
insurance policy," said Sarah Otto of UBC's Biodiversity Research Centre.
study was published last week in Evolutionary Applications: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12460/full