Marine Protected Areas are Proven Successful

In an article by NOAA, Marine Protected Areas are proven to be a success:

“A recent study by NOAA and the State of Hawaii on the effectiveness of marine protected areas(MPAs) in Hawaii, found that coral reef fish populations in areas fully protected from fishing had higher fish biomass, larger overall fish size, and higher biodiversity than nearby unprotected areas of similar habitat quality. In addition, several fish species were more abundant in these protected areas, illustrating the effectiveness of these restrictions in conserving reef fish populations (Friedlander et al., 2007).

This study also found that coral cover was higher in the protected areas than in open access areas. In contrast, macroalgae cover was lowest in the protected areas and highest in the open access areas. Macroalgae, in large amounts, can degrade the biodiversity and growth of coral reef ecosystems. These findings are significant because they suggest what has been well documented and confirmed in other regions – herbivorous reef fish play an important role in coral survival by removing macroalgae from coral reefs.

The methods used in this study may be used in evaluating existing MPAs in other regions, may help in defining ecologically relevant boundaries for future MPAs, and may assist in effectively managing coral reef ecosystem MPAs.”


Study sites were located within and around 11 Marine Life Conservation Districts and the Moku o Loe Reserve. Source: Biogeography Branch of NOAA's Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment.




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