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Research Document 2017/001

An assessment of the biological indicators for the Eastport Marine Protected Area (MPA): A case study in support of an ecosystem goods and services valuation of MPAs

By Lewis, S., Coughlan, E., Pepin, P. and Skanes, K.


The Eastport Marine Protected Area (MPA) was designated in 2005 as part of Canada’s overall MPA Network under the Oceans Act. Data have been collected continually since 1997, representing a rich data source related to the main conservation objective: protection of a viable lobster fishery. As such, it was selected as a case study in the determination of ecosystem goods and services (EGS) valuation for MPAs. Biological indicators are required to inform the process including: abundance, size structure, estimate of berried females and the catch per unit effort as compared to other areas without protection. This research document provides an analysis of the required data, as available, for the EGS study and ancillary information that can help to provide context and further scrutiny where applicable or required.

It was determined that overall there was no measurable effect on the lobster MPA when comparing lobster at the Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) level against four selected indicators. There were modest differences between the Eastport area (LFA 5) compared to LFA 4B (Northeast Coast), whereas no major differences could be detected between LFA 5 and LFA 10 (Placentia Bay). Effects of the protection measures are evident at the local level, with larger females being produced and retained within the population, but the effects may be the result of other conservation measures not associated with the MPA designation. However, due to the documented life cycle of a lobster, if any substantial changes are likely to occur, they will be realized within the next several years.

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