Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM)

Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas
December 2018

Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM): Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas
December 2018

Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers (CCFAM): Report on Canada’s Network of Marine Protected Areas December 2018 (PDF, 2.37 MB)

Table of Contents

Annex: Summary of International Studies of MPA Network Effectiveness

It is generally recognized that it may take many years before the effects and benefits of MPA networks can be evaluated. As a result, studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of MPAs and MPA networks have only recently emerged from areas where MPAs and networks have existed for a period of time, and the majority of those studies have focused on the fisheries recruitment benefits of marine reserves.

Experiences with MPAs around the world provide examples of benefits stemming from MPA establishment.

United States of America (USA) Marine Reserves and MPAs:

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary covers the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, in Maine, USA. The marine sanctuary was established in 1991. Socio-economic research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that in 2008, tourists spent USD $125 million to travel to and visit the sanctuary. Whale watching tours yielded USD $24 million/year in revenues, and recreational fishing by charter boats resulted in direct sales value of USD $2.5 million/year.Footnote 19

A 2005 study from HawaiiFootnote 20 examined a network of nine Fish Replenishment Areas (MPAs that prohibit collection of aquarium fish) established in 1998 to resolve conflicts between aquarium collectors and dive-tour operators. Within five years of establishment, there were significant increases in the overall abundance of fish targeted by collectors, the price for the top-valued fish increased by an average of 33 percent, and conflicts between collectors and other ocean users had been reduced. Study authors concluded that MPAs can effectively promote recovery of fish stocks, enhance nearby fisheries, and help resolve user-group conflicts.

Marine Protected Areas in the European Union (EU)Footnote 21 and Australia:

In the EU, MPAs cover 7,725 sites and 338,623 square kilometers. The EU definition of MPA for the research was: “a clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.” In the EU MPAs, imposing explicit restrictions on fishing or different fishing gear (depending on conservation objectives) has proven to have significant positive effects on species conservation.

Lamlash Bay, United Kingdom, was designated as a fully protected marine reserve in 2008, with no fishing of any kind permitted within its boundaries. Despite its relatively recent establishment, evidence shows that the reserve has benefited scallop populations in nearby fishing grounds. A greater abundance of juvenile scallops were observed within the reserve compared to the surrounding areas, supporting the idea that MPAs can enhance the recruitment of commercially exploited species near the reserve in two ways. First, protection of nursery habitats increased the settlement levels of the species, and second, the protection allowed a greater number of individuals to become larger and older. These effects are expected to increase over time.

A 2010 study quantified the number and biomass of lobsters spilling over from the Columbretes Islands. Individuals tagged inside the reserve and recaptured in the surrounding fisheries were used to track the origin of the lobsters. Goñi et al. found that the harvested spillover offset the loss of yield due to reduction of fishing grounds. Further, lobsters emigrating from the reserve were larger on average than those outside, resulting in a mean annual net benefit of 10 percent of the catch in weightFootnote 22.

A 2012 Australian studyFootnote 23 showed evidence that larval export from a well-established marine reserve provided recruitment benefits for reef fisheries in adjacent areas. The conclusion of the study found that reserves, which accounted for 28 percent of the local reef area, produced approximately half of all juvenile recruitment to fished reefs within 30 km of the surrounding area. While the socio-economic benefits to stakeholders were not measured, the study concluded that recruitment from local reserves offered proof that networks can be an effective tool for sustaining generations of fish harvesters.

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