CalOceans News

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National Geographic highlights value of marine reserves

April 18th, 2011

Marine ecologist Enric Sala is one of the authors of a recent study published in PLoS Biology on human impacts on coral reefs.  He comments on the study's findings in National Geographic, offering a great side note on the effectiveness of marine protected areas. 

The study, conducted on 2,000 reefs worldwide, highlights the benefits of balancing the “take” with “give” in man’s relationship with the ocean.

Marine reserves get a special mention when Sala credits the remarkable connection between these ocean sanctuaries and a thriving ocean:

“Fish biomass increases an average of five times in these reserves relative to adjacent unprotected areas — and after a few years fish spill over and fishermen increase their catch around the reserves”.

Sala offers that the key to bringing balance to our waters lies with no-take areas.  The study also confirms the ability of the ocean to heal itself once these protected areas are in place:

“We know how to bring ocean biodiversity back: with good fisheries management and creating more no-take marine reserves.”

The article is a powerful testament to the benefits of marine protected areas for everyone that depends on a healthy ocean for work or play.

“In the end, it’s not just about the fishes, it’s about us enjoying all those wonderful services that we need so desperately — and the dollars they bring to our economy. If we want to be able to eat more fish, and to make more money out of the ocean, let’s keep more fish in it. Let’s be selfish for once”.

The full article can be found here.