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The Loreto Bay National Park (LBNP) is a large, multi-use marine protected area in the Gulf of California, Mexico, where several types of small-scale commercial and recreational fishing are allowed, but where less than 1% of the park is totally protected from fishing. The LBNP was created in 1996; its management plan was completed in 2000, but it was not effectively implemented and enforced until 2003. Between 1998 and 2010, we monitored reef fish populations annually at several reefs inside and outside the LBNP to measure the effects of the park on fish assemblages. We also evaluated reported fisheries landings within the LBNP for the same time series. Our results show that reef fish biomass increased significantly after protection at a small no-take site at LBNP relative to the rest of the park. However, the multi-use part of LBNP where fishing is allowed (99% of its surface) has had no measurable effect on reef fish biomass relative to open access sites outside the park boundaries. Reported fisheries landings have decreased within the park while increasing in nearby unprotected areas. Although the current partial protection management regime has not allowed for reef fish populations to recover despite 15 years as a "protected area," we conclude that LBNP's regulations and management have maintained the conditions of the ecosystem that existed when the park was established. These results suggest that community livelihoods have been sustained, but a re-evaluation of the multi-use management strategy, particularly the creation of larger no-take zones and better enforcement, is needed to improve the reef fish populations in the park in order to ensure sustainable fisheries far into the future. These recommendations can be applied to all multi-use MPAs in Mexico where ecosystem recovery is not occurring despite maintenance of fish stocks.
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Long-term effectiveness of a multi-use marine protected area on reef
sh assemblages and sheries landings
Alexis N. Rife
, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza
, Philip A. Hastings
, Brad Erisman
, Ford Ballantyne
Jeffrey Wielgus
, Enric Sala
, Leah Gerber
Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA 92093-0202, USA
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Kansas University, Lawrence, KS 66047, USA
School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
Marine Bioeconomics, Tampa, FL 22607, USA
National Geographic Society, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Centre dEstudis Avançats de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC), 17300 Blanes, Spain
article info
Article history:
Received 13 May 2012
Received in revised form
19 December 2012
Accepted 24 December 2012
Available online
Marine protected area
Reef sh assemblages
Gulf of California
No-take areas
Beyond-BACI analysis
Fisheries management
The Loreto Bay National Park (LBNP) is a large, multi-use marine protected area in the Gulf of California,
Mexico, where several types of small-scale commercial and recreational shing are allowed, but where
less than 1% of the park is totally protected from shing. The LBNP was created in 1996; its management
plan was completed in 2000, but it was not effectively implemented and enforced until 2003. Between
1998 and 2010, we monitored reef sh populations annually at several reefs inside and outside the LBNP
to measure the effects of the park on sh assemblages. We also evaluated reported sheries landings
within the LBNP for the same time series. Our results show that reef sh biomass increased signicantly
after protection at a small no-take site at LBNP relative to the rest of the park. However, the multi-use
part of LBNP where shing is allowed (99% of its surface) has had no measurable effect on reef sh
biomass relative to open access sites outside the park boundaries. Reported sheries landings have
decreased within the park while increasing in nearby unprotected areas. Although the current partial
protection management regime has not allowed for reef sh populations to recover despite 15 years as a
protected area,we conclude that LBNPs regulations and management have maintained the conditions
of the ecosystem that existed when the park was established. These results suggest that community
livelihoods have been sustained, but a re-evaluation of the multi-use management strategy, particularly
the creation of larger no-take zones and better enforcement, is needed to improve the reef sh pop-
ulations in the park in order to ensure sustainable sheries far into the future. These recommendations
can be applied to all multi-use MPAs in Mexico where ecosystem recovery is not occurring despite
maintenance of sh stocks.
Ó2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
In response to the perceived failure of traditional, species-
specic management tools to restore most sheries, marine pro-
tected areas (MPAs) have been established as a means to conserve
biodiversity and help sustain sheries (Pikitch et al., 2004) within
the context of ecosystem-based management (Halpern et al., 2010).
The term marine protected areaencompasses many differing
management schemes and a gradient of protection levels that may
restrict all extractive practices (no-take marine reserves), limit
gear types, or restrict shing temporally or via zonation (Ward
et al., 2001). Marine reserves need to be used as a complement to
sheries management, particularly in developing countries where
other institutionalized regulations may not exist. Benets of marine
reserves may be dampened in multi-use MPAs that lack sufcient
no-take area and proper zonation.
MPAs have been established throughout Mexico in the last 15
years, including the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortés), a global ma-
rine biodiversity hotspot (Roberts et al., 2002) that has been of
particular focus by conservation organizations and scientic
groups, and gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2005. The
majority of these MPAs are multi-use, with typically small no-take
areas surrounded by bufferzones where shing effort and/
or certain gear types are limited or restricted. Despite the
*Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (A.N. Rife).
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Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283
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establishment of several MPAs in the Gulf of California, the efcacy
of these multi-use MPAs as both conservation and shery man-
agement tools has seldom been assessed (but see Cudney-Bueno
et al., 2009;Espinoza-Tenorio et al., 2010). There is concern that
these MPAs may suffer from the paper parksyndrome, where
MPAs are established, but without the proper regulations, man-
agement plan, and resources to be effective in allowing for sh
stock recovery (a common MPA objective). Rather, these areas only
maintain the status quo of degraded ecosystems with no or very
low benets for the community and local sheries.
The Gulf of California supports a large shing community, pro-
ducing 50e70% of Mexicos annual catch (Carvajal et al., 2004;Ulloa
et al., 2006), of which 15% is captured by small-scale shers
(SEMARNAT, 2006;Ulloa et al., 2006). Fisheries management in
Mexico is largely permit-based, limiting shing effort by permitting
skiffs (pangas) to harvest a number of target species (SAGARPA,
2007). For the majority of species, no quotas exist and manage-
ment is dependent on this limited entry system. This strategy of
a moratorium on entry into the shery for preserving sh stocks
has been recognized as an inefcient management measure as it
does not create the right incentives to reduce shing effort
(Townsend, 1990;Wilen, 1988). Furthermore, it has generally been
unsuccessful in maintaining sheries stocks (CONAPESCA, 2010)
and has been deemed to be unsustainable in the Gulf of California
(Sala et al., 2004). Cinti et al. (2010) argue that this permit-based
system does not provide the incentives for a sustainable shery
in Mexico, and MPAs may be one way to effectively ll this gap.
We used Loreto Bay National Park (LBNP) as a case study for the
effectiveness of a multi-use MPA in meeting both its objectives
(detailed below) and in allowing for sh stock recovery. The total
no-take area is less than 1% of the park, and while prohibiting
industrial-scale shing, the park allows small-scale sheries to
operate within its borders. The stated goal of the park is to preserve
sh biomass in order to maintain sheries. Here, we assess whether
the LBNP has met its objectives using a 13-year time series of data
on sh abundance in multiple sites inside and outside the park,
from before to after effective protection, and sheries catch
2. Material and methods
2.1. Study site
LBNP was decreed in 1996; its management plan was nished in
2000, published in 2002, and implemented in 2003. LBNP was
created as a result of stakeholder requests to exclude shrimp
trawlers and purse seiners from local shing grounds (CONANP,
2000). Its management plan was created through an open process
that included input from user groups. The park encompasses
1837 km
and is zoned into different areas that allow various ac-
tivities and degrees of extraction, with 1.27 km
as no-take, cen-
tered around two shallow seamounts (CONANP, 2003,2000)
(Fig. 1). Although only 0.07% of the park is no-take, some gear re-
strictions do exist (CONANP, 2003,2000): beginning in 2000, the
presence of industrial-scale boats (trawlers and purse seiners) was
prohibited; the use of gillnets is prohibited half of the year; har-
pooning is banned; and north of Montserrat Island, only hook-and-
line shing is permitted (Fig. 1). LBNP adjoins several towns,
Fig. 1. Location of study sites. Loreto Bay National Park boundary depicted by the dotted line. Circles are MPA sites. Inverted triangles indicate no-take and restricted gear sites
within the MPA (restricted sites). Open access (unprotected) sites are depicted by squares.
A.N. Rife et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283 277
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including Loreto, with a population of approximately 15,000 peo-
ple. About 10% of the total population of these communities is
involved in commercial sheries as their primary livelihood
(CONANP, 2003,2000).
Stated objectives of the park include to preserve renewable and
nonrenewable natural resourcesand restore critical habitats,
promoting the social development of the communities within the
region(CONANP, 2000). Specically, the park seeks to establish
guidelines to orient the development of the many activities that
occur within the park, including commercial shing, sport shing,
and other tourism activities (e.g., bird and whale watching, recre-
ational diving) while ensuring that these activities are compatible
with conservation and maintain community livelihoods. An
assessment of the park must take into account these objectives:
a preservation of environmental conditions and sustainable
In general, the status of sh populations and the spatial distri-
bution of shing effort within the LBNP boundaries are not well
known. The Gulf of California is impacted by the El Niño Southern
Oscillation, which has been shown to affect sh assemblages and
sheries (Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2007;Sala et al., 2003) and further
complicates management and recovery efforts. The park has, in
recent years, been going through the evaluation and revision pro-
cess of its management plan, including an increase in the no-take
areas within the LBNP.
2.2. Biological monitoring
We surveyed 22 sites between Loreto and La Paz, in Baja Cali-
fornia Sur (Fig. 1) annually in AugusteSeptember from 1998 to
2010. All research was conducted under research permits (DAPA/2/
110808/1990, DGOPA/07191/060907/3623, DGOPA/05356/140710/
3457, SGPA/DGVS/06821/08, and DAN-03651), and LBNP managers
were informed prior to conducting surveys. Fourteen of the survey
sites lie within the LBNP, and eight open access sites south of the
park were used as controls. All sites are in shallow, rocky reef
habitats. Monitoring sites within the LBNP are located around the
four main islands within the park eCoronado, Carmen, Montserrat,
and Danzante. One of the LBNP sites is located within the current
no-take zone and one within the restricted gear use area (Fig. 1).
The restricted gear use site was not surveyed in 2003 due to un-
favorable ambient conditions.
Surveys at each site involved underwater visual sh surveys
censuses using SCUBA. Censuses followed standard belt transect
methodology described in previous studies (Aburto-Oropeza et al.,
2011;Sala et al., 2002), with each transect covering an area of
250 m
(50 m long 5 m wide). Up to seven transects were sur-
veyed per site, with divers swimming along an isobath of reef and
making two passes along the same transect. Divers identied and
counted all actively swimming shes on the rst path and seden-
tary, benthic, or territorial shes on the second to account for
observer effects and estimated their total length within 5 cm. Fishes
that passed divers from behind were omitted to avoid counting the
same sh multiple times. The censuses focused on reef shes, those
that use the hard substrata for protection, shelter, feeding, or
reproduction (Thomson et al., 2000). However, we also included
the epipelagic species that regularly visit reefs in search of food,
cleaning services, and reproduction (Mascareñas-Osorio et al.,
2011). We concentrated our efforts on conspicuous shes species
rather than cryptobenthic species, small shes of less than 5 cm in
length that are behaviorally cryptic and difcult to quantify by vi-
sual surveys due to their close association with the substratum. To
calculate sh biomass we used lengtheweight allometries from
Fishbase (Froese and Pauly, 2011). The surveyors are experienced at
and trained in visually surveying sh assemblages and estimating
sh lengths accurately (Aburto-Oropeza and Balart, 2001;Sala
et al., 2002).
Detecting the impact of an MPA on sh assemblages may not be
as straightforward as it appears. The commonly used single com-
parison of an MPA with nearby unprotected sites after the creation
of the MPA may be confounded by spatial differences in sh bio-
mass that are independent of reserve effects (Guidetti, 2002). Fur-
thermore, these snapshot comparisons do not allow us to
determine the rate of recovery of sh assemblages (Russ et al.,
2005). An additional problem is the intrinsic variability in sh
populations. In order to detect changes in sh biomass resulting
from MPA establishment, these changes must be greater than
natural variability. The optimal method to evaluate the efcacy of
an MPA is to survey several sites in the MPA and multiple unpro-
tected sites nearby and/or in the same biogeographic area, several
times before and after the creation of the MPA. We used this design,
called a Beyond-BACI (Before-After Control-Impact) (Underwood,
1992,1994), to test the effect of the MPA on total sh biomass
and the biomass of major sh trophic groups. The eight open access
sites outside the park were the controlsites and the 14 sites
within the MPA were the impactsites. The impact sites are
expected to show a positive temporal change in sh biomass fol-
lowing the implementation of management. Monitoring began in
1998, which is technically after the park was decreed; however, the
management plan was not created until 2000 and not published in
the Ofcial Gazette of the Mexican Federation until January of 2003
and thus not ofcial until 2003. Therefore, we assume that no
signicant change in shersbehavior occurred until 2003, leaving
1998e2002 as ve years of beforeand 2003e2010 as eight years
of aftertreatment. In 2007, some of the open access, control sites
were decreed as part of a new MPA (Espiritu Santo Archipelago
National Park). As no management plan has been published or
implemented, these sites are still considered open access in our
We rst compared the no-take area and the line shing-only
area within LBNP. There were no statistically signicant differ-
ences in sh biomass between the two sites from before to after
protection (see Results). Hence we included these two sites in
arestrictedprotection category and compared them with the rest
of sites within LBNP. This comparison was intended to test whether
the greater protection north of Montserrat has produced an effect
on sh populations that is different from the rest of the parkwhere
shing is less restricted. There were statistically signicant differ-
ences in sh biomass between these two different levels of pro-
tection (restricted and rest of park) within LBNP (see Results).
Therefore we decided to compare all sites within the park (except
the restricted area) with the unprotected areas nearby in order to
test any effect of the multi-use park as compared to open access
We used asymmetrical analysis of variance (ANOVA) to test for
two different types of impact: change in mean biomass after pro-
tection and change in temporal variance (e.g., Currie and Small,
2005;Francini-Filho and Moura, 2008;Skilleter et al., 2006). Pro-
tection can be considered a press disturbancesince its effects are
continuous and can cause a sustained increase in mean sh bio-
mass. In addition, protection may dampen temporal variance in sh
abundance relative to unprotected areas (e.g., Francour, 1994). Both
effects can be detected as signicant interactions. Increased bio-
mass after protection would cause an increased interaction
between the difference from impacted to control locations before,
compared with after, protection (B IinTables 1 and 2)
(Underwood, 1992,1994). An effect on temporal variance can be
detected as a signicant interaction between the impacted and
control locations in their temporal changes after the disturbance
(T(Aft) IinTables 1 and 2)(Underwood, 1992). Since the same
A.N. Rife et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283278
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sites were monitored each year, reefs were nested within the
control-impact treatment and randomized. To fulll assumptions of
normality and heteroscedascity, data on sh biomass were ln-
2.3. CONAPESCA catch data
We analyzed the reported sheries catch databases from 1999 to
2009 from the Loreto and La Paz CONAPESCA ofces. Generally,
shers shing at our control sites report to the La Paz ofce, while
shers in the LBNP and outside the park near Loreto report to the
Loreto ofce. Based on the reported capture sites, we determined if
the catch came from the MPA or open access area, and used these
location categories to compare catch trends under the two treat-
ments as above (2.2). We eliminated the few capture sites whose
location we could not determine as well as those outside the im-
mediate area around LBNP in order to accurately measure and
distinguish between catch in the MPA and open access treatment.
CONAPESCA sheries statistics are too limited to evaluate the
status of individual sh stocks for multiple reasons including lack of
data on or assessment of shing effort, lack of adequate spatial
resolution, misidentication and lumping of species, and lack of
data on sh sizes (Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2006). However, these
databases have been used to identify general catch trends for
species groupsharvested in the Gulf of California (Erisman et al.,
We eliminated all inconclusive and uncertain catch data (e.g.,
labeled as other) within the database, as well as reports for
ornamental and aquarium shes. It is difcult to measure the level
of shing conducted by outsiders from the region and not reported
in the local CONAPESCA ofce, so we did not attempt to account for
this in the analysis. Reported catches were divided into family
groups and species groupings (e.g., cabrillas and groupers as Ser-
ranidae and Epinephelidae) but identied to the species level when
possible, which allowed us to determine the trophic groups in the
catch. We used an ANCOVA model to test for differences in catch
trends between the MPA and open access areas.
3. Results
3.1. Biological monitoring data
We studied if the data for the sites with shing restrictions (no-
take site, shing-line only site) could be pooled into a single
restricted shingcategory. We tested for normality (Shapiroe
Wilks test) of the Before, After, and combined samples for each
site, and we compared the variances (Levene test) and means
(Welch two-sample t-test) between the two Before and the two
After samples (Romeu, 2004). The Before, After, and combined
samples did not deviate statistically from normality (No-take
Before: W¼0.899, p¼0.409; Fishing-line Before: W¼0.920,
p¼0.530; No-take combined: W¼0.975, p¼0.932. No-take After:
W¼0.858, p¼0.145; Fishing-line After: W¼0.899, p¼0.327;
Fishing-line combined: W¼0.0.911; p¼0.165). In addition, there
were no statistically signicant differences in the variances (Before:
L¼0.010, p¼0.919; After: L¼1.741, p¼0.212) and means (Before:
t¼1.439, p¼0.188; After: t¼0.186, p¼0.858), so we pooled the
data for the two sites in a single restricted areacategory.
Total sh biomass in the restricted area of LBNP was greater than
in the other sites within LBNP from before to after the imple-
mentation of the management plan in 2003 (ANOVA, p<0.001),
despite the high degree of variability in biomass over time in the
restricted zones (Table 1,Fig. 2). This difference was explained by
the signicantly greater abundance of herbivorous shes (p<0.05)
and zooplanktivorous shes (p<0.001) (mostly Abudefdful tro-
schelli) in the restricted sites relative to other sites in the park.
There were no statistically signicant differences in biomass of
apex predators and carnivores between the restricted sites and the
rest of the park from before to after 2003. Temporal variance among
zones in the park did not change signicantly before and after 2003
(Table 1,Fig. 2).
There was no statistically signicant difference in total sh
biomass and the biomass of sh trophic groups from before to after
protection between the MPA (12 sites within LBNP, not including
the restricted area sites) and open access sites (Table 2,Fig. 2).
Temporal variance between the park and unprotected areas nearby
did not change signicantly before and after 2003. In both settings,
zooplanktivores and herbivores compromised approximately 70%
of the total biomass while piscivores and carnivores constituted the
remaining 30% (Fig. 2).
3.2. CONAPESCA catch data
The top species groups caught in the LBNP varied in order of
importance from year to year, but always included snappers (Lut-
janidae), cabrillas and groupers (Serranidae and Epinephelidae),
tilesh (Malacanthidae), and sharks and rays (not identied to the
family level in the CONAPESCA reports). Herbivores and zoo-
planktivores made up less than 10% of the total catch combined.
Piscivores and carnivores heavily dominated the catch. Mean
Table 1
Beyond-BACI analysis to detect the effects of the Loreto Bay National Park on sh populations. Comparison between the restricted area [a no-take site and a site where only
hook-and-line is permitted (MPA1)]and 12 other sites in the park where both line and nets are allowed (MPA2). The degrees of freedom and the Mean Square are shown only
for the residual of the B I test.
Source of variation df Total biomass Top predators Carnivores Zooplanktivores Herbivores
Year ¼T 12 0.024 0.005 0.014 0.011 0.002
Before vs. After ¼B 1 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.002 0.001
Among locations ¼L 13 0.024 0.015 0.013 0.033 0.017
MPA1 vs. MPA2 ¼I 1 0.001 0.008 0.006 0.016 0.001
Among MPA2 ¼C 11 0.028 0.017 0.014 0.036 0.020
TI 11 0.008 1.340 0.002 0.597 0.001 0.428 0.005 0.726 0.005 1.562
BL 13 0.009 0.002 0.001 0.009 0.005
BI108.374** 0.001 0.381 0.001 0.034 0.032 5.026* 0.035 10.666**
BC 11 0.004 0.657 0.002 0.919 0.001 0.351 0.006 1.322 0.002 1.128
T(Aft) L 88 0.005 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.002
T(Aft) I 6 0.004 0.730 0.002 0.847 0.002 0.632 0.002 0.265 0.003 0.874
T(Aft) C 76 0.005 0.002 0.003 0.004 0.002
Residual (B I) 174 0.007 0.003 0.004 0.006 0.003
Signicant interaction terms are in bold. *p<0.05, **p<0.001.
A.N. Rife et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283 279
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annual landing per year by trophic group, common group, and
family are shown in Table 3. Reported landings for each year of data
and including Spanish common and species names are included in
Supporting information (S1). Overall reported catch in the open
access areas was larger, as expected given the industrial-scale
shing effort, and increased over time relative to catch in the
LBNP (ANCOVA, F¼50.84, p<0.001), as was the case for catch of
carnivorous shes (F¼16.12, p¼0.001) (Fig. 3).
4. Discussion
The trophic group distribution of shes at LBNP is representative
of a system with a high level of human impact (Sandin et al., 2008).
Zooplanktivores and herbivores make up the bulk of the biomass
within LBNP and do not reect the apex predator-dominated
structure of a healthy reef system (DeMartini et al., 2008). This
has been the situation in LBNP since the park was rst established
and has not changed in 13 years of monitoring. Total sh biomass
and biomass of trophic levels targeted by commercial sheries have
not increased signicantly in the LBNP after protection relative to
open access, unprotected areas nearby. Only the biomass of her-
bivorous and planktivorous shes increased in the restricted areas
of LBNP relative to the rest of the park, although it is unclear
whether this increase was due to protection. Despite the lack of
recovery, our temporal monitoring shows that biomass did not
decrease signicantly over time for reef shes within LBNP. Catch of
higher trophic groups may indicate a higher presence than our
monitoring data suggest, but we doubt that this is the case as
shers specically target these groups, our monitoring sites are
located in piscivore and carnivore habitat, and we regularly see
these shes while monitoring in other sites (e.g., Cabo Pulmo,
Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2011). While catch has fallen, in numerous
conversations with shers, managers, and residents, loss of liveli-
hood was never expressed as a concern (A. Rife unpublished data).
Table 2
Beyond-BACI analysis to detect the effects of the Loreto Bay National Park on sh populations. Comparison between 12 sites in the park where both line and nets are allowed
(MPA2), and unprotected areas nearby. The degrees of freedom and the Mean Square are shown only for the residual of the B I test.
Source of variation df Total biomass Top predators Carnivores Zooplanktivores Herbivores
Year ¼T 12 0.031 2.141 0.014 0.012 0.004
Before vs. After ¼B 1 0.057 0.004 0.000 0.054 0.010
Among locations ¼L 21 0.019 0.034 0.012 0.032 0.012
MPA2 vs. unprotected ¼I 1 0.001 0.080 0.017 0.019 0.001
Among unprotected ¼C 7 0.012 0.060 0.008 0.032 0.005
TI 12 0.009 1.367 0.005 0.996 0.003 0.920 0.006 0.954 0.003 1.030
BL 19 0.005 0.003 0.002 0.006 0.002
BI (a) 1 0 2.805 0.005 1.028 0.002 0.406 0.014 2.199 0.001 0.368
BC 7 0.005 0.559 0.004 0.996 0.003 0.729 0.005 1.018 0.002 0.498
T(Aft) L 130 0.007 0.003 0.003 0.004 0.003
T(Aft) I (b) 7 0.011 1.435 0.004 0.844 0.003 0.825 0.006 0.882 0.002 0.513
T(Aft) C (b) 47 0.009 0.004 0.004 0.004 0.003
Residual (B I) 249 0.008 0.004 0.002 0.015 0.001
No statistically signicant statistical relationships were found, meaning that pwas not <0.05.
Fig. 2. Reef sh biomass (tonnes ha
, mean S.E.) in the Loreto Bay Marine Park and adjacent areas from 1998 to 2010. Bars indicate standard error.
A.N. Rife et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283280
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The Beyond-BACI analysis is a rigorous way to compare an MPA
with adjacent unprotected sites in an area with interannual envi-
ronmental changes (Underwood, 1992,1994). Our results indicate
that some reef sites had signicantly higher biomass than others,
but this was accounted for because the Beyond-BACI analysis tests
for differences from before to after protection between levels of
protection, regardless of the absolute biomass at each site.
In other locales it has been shown that sh biomass can increase
signicantly in no-take reserves within a few years of implementa-
tion (Halpern and Warner, 2002;Lester et al., 2009), signicantly so
within a decade (McClanahan et al., 2007). This is not the case in
MPAswhich suffer from paper park syndrome (e.g.,Rogers and Beets,
2001). Based on evidence from 155 no-take reserves worldwide
(Lester et al., 2009;Micheli et al., 2004), we would expect target
species (chieyapex predators and carnivores) to accountfor most of
the sh biomass increase in reserves. The sergeant major, A. troschelli,
which wasthe major contributor tosh biomass at the restricted area
of LBNP, is not a shery target. This indicates that the stronger reg-
ulations at these siteshave not been effectivein allowing for recovery
of commercially important apex predators and carnivores. This may
be due to the small size of these no-take areas (Halpern, 2003;
Vandeperre et al., 2010) which are insufcient to affect sh biomass
throughout the MPA or the ineffective enforcement of regulations. In
any case,the only positive change in sh biomassat LBNP occurred in
the restricted site. In Cabo Pulmo National Park, the only well-
enforced no-take reserve in the Gulf of California, sh biomass
increased 460% within a decade and was dominated by apex pred-
ators (Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2011). This is a stark contrast with LBNP,
where the partial protection management scheme has not been
effective in allowing the recovery of sh assemblages in the park.
Table 3
Average sheries landings per year in LBNP by trophic group, common group, and
family (metric tons). Supporting Information (S1) includes Spanish common and
species names as well as per year landing.
Trophic group Common
Family Mean total
Piscivore 218.85 113.71
Barracudas Sphyraenidae 0.14 0.45
Halibuts Paralichthyidae 1.54 1.30
Groupers Epinephelidae,
40.27 19.04
Jacks Carangidae 41.69 25.30
Palometas Carangidae 1.42 1.42
Nematistiidae 0.02 0.07
Sharks Alopiidae,
Sphyrnidae, Others
15.79 15.89
Sierras Scombridae 7.17 6.01
Snappers Lutjanidae 110.64 43.92
Snooks Centropomidae 0.17 0.30
Carnivore 162.39 50.36
Corvinas Sciaenidae 1.19 2.10
Croakers Sciaenidae 0.03 0.06
Cusk eels Ophidiidae 2.92 5.00
Goatshes Mullidae 0.07 0.23
Groupers Epinephelidae,
30.95 11.48
Grunts Haemulidae 12.38 6.03
Guitarshes Rhinobatidae 0.92 1.03
Jacks Carangidae 0.05 0.12
Mackerels Scombridae 3.07 2.16
Mojarras Gerreidae 9.68 5.17
Porgies Sparidae 2.23 2.37
Puffershes Tetraodontidae 0.13 0.31
Rays Rajiformes 13.01 9.76
Rockshes Sebastidae 3.98 3.86
Scads Carangidae 0.00 0.01
Sharks Triakidae,
29.59 15.49
Tileshes Malacanthidae 30.53 11.74
Triggershes Balistidae 14.81 6.50
Wrasses Labridae 6.84 6.87
Zooplanktivore 4.96 6.09
Groupers Epinephelidae 3.61 6.20
Sardines Engraulidae 0.82 0.99
Pampanos Carangidae 0.53 0.56
Herbivore 22.61 16.49
Chubs Kyphosidae 0.16 0.31
Mullets Mugilidae 0.14 0.45
Parrotshes Scaridae 22.31 15.73
Fig. 3. Catch (metric tonnes) of (a) Total (b) Piscivore (c) Carnivore in MPA (open
circles) and open access sites (closed circles). Lines depict linear regression used in
ANCOVA analysis.
A.N. Rife et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 117 (2013) 276e283 281
Author's personal copy
The decline in catch may be evidence of commercial shers
switching to other livelihoods. The CONAPESCA database does not
include catches from recreational sheries, which are generally not
monitored. Many former commercial shers have switched to
providing sport-shing services to tourists as it is seen as a more
lucrative and steady income (anonymous personal communica-
tion). Recreational shing has increased more than 400% within the
LBNP since its creation (López-Sagástegui, 2006). As shers switch,
they continue to catch higher trophic groups, but no longer report
these catches, potentially resulting in an unmeasured impact on
piscivore and carnivore biomass (Cooke and Crowx, 2006;Lewin
et al., 2006;Schroeder and Love, 2002). The decline in catch may
also be explained by the presence of shers from outside the Loreto
region within the park, who do not report their catch to the Loreto
CONAPESCA ofce (Erisman et al., 2011). It is well known that
shing vessels from Guaymas sh at LBNP and land and sell their
catch on the mainland side of the Gulf (illegally) (B. Erisman pers
observations). These possibilities are ways in which shing may be
continuing within the park without regulations or any means to
monitor them. With the many caveats associated with the CON-
APESCA database, and without the ability to account for shing
effort, we cannot identify the reason why catch has decreased
beyond these speculations.
The underlying causes of the lack of recovery of sh assemblages
at LBNP may include weak shing regulations and lack of
enforcement of such regulations. It is also possible that some of the
legal shing methods used within the park are detrimental, par-
ticularly to spawning aggregations caught in gillnets (Erisman et al.,
2010). Gillnets are already restricted temporally and prohibited in
one area, but their continued use may be impeding the recovery of
apex predators, particularly since known spawning sites of targeted
groupers are not included in the restricted areas of the LBNP
(Carvajal et al., 2004;Erisman et al., 2007;Ulloa et al., 2006). Our
results add to previous examples showing that partial protection
does not result in signicant recovery of sh populations (Denny
and Babcock, 2004;Di Franco et al., 2009;Francour et al., 2001;
Shears et al., 2006).
5. Conclusions
The goal of LBNPs management plan is to preserve the natural
resources, not explicitly to restore them, and to ensure the social
development of the communities, which we interpret as safe-
guarding livelihoods. The LBNP has met these objectives. We
remain, however, concerned that this success is in the preservation
of an already degraded environment, virtually indistinguishable
from the unprotected areas nearby. This is not a positive outcome in
any respect, nor is it how the LBNP is promoted publicly. One would
hope to detect a signicant recovery, especially in higher trophic
groups that are the focus of sheries in the area. We believe that in
order to have sustainable sheries and increase the benets (eco-
logical and economical) to the local community, recovery of
depleted sh assemblages is essential and should be a focus for
park managers in the future. Otherwise, one could also claim that
the unprotected areas nearby have been as successful as LBNP in
preserving the natural resourcesewhich could render manage-
ment of LBNP as irrelevant.
The revised management plan expands the total no-take area
and incorporates areas known to harbor spawning aggregations,
which may facilitate sh assemblage recovery. Interviews with
shers in Loreto suggested that shers believe that MPAs are
benecial for tourism in the region, but that they see little benetto
their sheries (A. Rife unpublished data). However, the groundwork
has been laid by local NGOs and CONANP to engage user groups in
a dialogue regarding LBNP. These efforts have contributed to
a belief among local shers on the need for better management in
providing for sustainable sheries.
The creation of more and larger no-take marine reserves in LBNP
is likely to be a necessary step to restoring populations of targeted
shes, as well as other species (Aburto-Oropeza et al., 2011;
Wielgus et al., 2008). This should be associated with an increase in
both the CONANP and CONAPESCA staff and resources. The CON-
APESCA database on sh landings should be revised to include
some measure of effort and information regarding the number and
size of sh caught and both logbooks and port monitoring should
be required for commercial and sport shers. There is also a need
for revising shing regulations, management, and enforcement are
conducted, since sheries management and enforcement should be
an integral part of the management of any multi-use MPA.
Involvement of the local community in enforcement efforts should
be pursued in order to increase effectiveness (Cudney-Bueno and
Basurto, 2009). Finally, monitoring of the sh assemblages in the
park should continue in order to inform management and measure
success of the above suggestions.
We are grateful to the Department of the Environment of
Mexico (SEMARNAT), the Loreto Bay National Park Management
Authority, and the Reserve of the Islands of the Gulf of California for
providing research permits. We thank D. Squires, E. Ezcurra, S.
Sandin, G. Galland, P. Lozano, U. Méndez, I. Martínez-Tovar, G.
Paredes, L. Bourillon, L. Fisman, R. López-Espinosa, L. López-Lemus,
A. Mendoza, M. Reza, A. Saenz-Arroyo, J. Torre, and C. Viesca for
their assistance with data collection, advice, and for improving an
earlier draft of the manuscript.
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at http://
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... Other studies concluded that the total biomass of reef fish is similar within the park and the nearby area outside the NPA limits. Thus, it can be argued that the natural health of the area subject to protection has not improved after the decree (Stamiezkin, et al., 2009;Rife, et al., 2013). The area where fishing is totally prohibited is less than 1% of the total area of the park. ...
... Industrial fishing is also prohibited throughout the park, and 99% of the area permits commercial fishing with some regulations, as well as regulated sport fishing. However, the fact that fish populations are not recovering, especially those at the upper levels on the food chain, should be a major concern and the focus of attention of the park authorities (Rife, et al., 2013). An important step in addressing the problem is that the new management plan for the park has expanded the non-fishing zones, which should help the recovery of the fish populations. ...
... Preservation through maintaining the condition of the resources without greater negative impacts on the ecosystems has largely been achieved. However, in this case, an already degraded environment has been preserved (Rife, et al., 2013). The challenge ahead is restoration. ...
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... The effectiveness of protection was also evaluated at the Loreto MPA (central Gulf of California) in a continuous time series (1998 to 2010), which found an increase in herbivorous and planktivorous fish biomass in a small no-take zone within the MPA, while the rest of the MPA -where fishing is allowed-did not show significant temporal changes (Rife et al., 2013a). The authors conclude that the management strategies have contributed to maintain the original conditions of fish assemblages, but that it is necessary to promote enforcement to avoid or reduce legal and illegal fishing inside the MPA. ...
... B. diplotaenia and M. rosacea; Table 1; NIPARAJÁ, 2011), associated with an increase of human population and fishing activity (Fig. 5e). Since increasing fishing pressure was observed around this MUMPA (Fig. S2), in addition to reports of illegal fishing inside it (Rife et al., 2013a(Rife et al., , 2013b, reinforcing management strategies such as surveillance and the application of fishing regulations could prevent direct (local decline or loss of commercially fished species) and indirect (abundance increase of lowtrophic level species, such as herbivorous fish and invertebrates) effects of overfishing and their consequent changes in ecosystem processes (e.g. high bioerosion rates in coral colonies; Alvarado et al. 2016). ...
... high bioerosion rates in coral colonies; Alvarado et al. 2016). The expansion of no-take zones from 0.07% to 3% in 2019 represents an additional strategy to address the management problems identified in Loreto MUMPA, including ongoing overfishing (CONANP, 2019; Rife et al., 2013a). The result that Espíritu Santo presented non-significant density declines (Fig. 3a) and less 'loser' species than Loreto, despite a higher fishing pressure around it (Fig. S2), might be attributed to effective management and governance, which has resulted in the recent addition of this MUMPA to the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas (2018) based on the evaluation of the five previous years . ...
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... The effectiveness of MPAs at achieving defined objectives such as climate resilience, resource conservation, tourism or fisheries production depends on a combination of being no take, large, old, isolated and well enforced (Carpenter et al. 2001;Lubchenco et al. 2003;Edgar and Stuart-Smith 2014;Roberts et al. 2017;Kerr et al. 2019). MPAs that have been designated but not managed appropriately are ineffective, and sometimes, effects are counter to their objectives (Edgar et al. 2004;Rife et al. 2013;Devillers et al. 2015;Claudet 2018). ...
... Thus, the application of spatially and temporally appropriate monitoring programs alongside rigorous statistical assessment is critical, to protect the specific area and to assess the value of MPAs and how they can be optimally applied in the future for resource management (Pelletier et al. 2005;Fox et al. 2014;Kerr et al. 2019). Globally, decisions leading to many MPA designations that were politically driven or altered led to the MPA being unable to attain its objectives (Rife et al. 2013;Devillers et al. 2015). Often, this compromise between political will and conservation objectives may undermine the success of MPAs. ...
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... However, the assessments could easily be expanded to a broader range of scenarios, such as closing different zones to different gears or applying seasonal fishing restrictions (e.g. Rife et al., 2013). Our approach could also be applied at a broader spatial scale, whereby the effects of closing some MPAs to fishing but not others are predicted. ...
Spatial restrictions to human activities such as bottom trawling are increasingly used to improve the ecological condition of disturbed habitats. Such management interventions typically have socio-economic consequences, which creates a challenge for those making decisions about which activities should be restricted and where restrictions should apply. We present an approach for predicting the effects of fisheries management scenarios in spatially delimited marine areas and ranking them—using a loss function—according to how well they achieve desired outcomes across a set of ecological and socio-economic indicators. This approach is demonstrated by simulating alternative fishing gear restrictions and zoning options within a hypothetical marine protected area (MPA). Relative benthic status (RBS; an indicator of ecological condition) and relative catch value (RCV; an indicator of potential economic cost) were estimated for the baseline environment and 21 potential management scenarios. The rank order depended on which indicator was prioritized (i.e. whether RBS or RCV was given greater weighting in the loss function), with the top-ranked scenarios in each case involving considerably different management measures. The methods presented can be applied anywhere using locally or strategically relevant indicators to help identify spatial fisheries management measures that minimize ecological and socio-economic trade-offs.
... Many studies have shown that NTZs are useful to investigate the effects of extractive fishing on fish assemblages when contrasted with comparable unprotected areas (Halpern et al. 2010;Malcolm et al. 2016;Watson and Harvey 2007). Increases in fish species richness (Edgar and Barrett 1999;Rife et al. 2013), abundance (Malcolm et al. 2015;Pande et al. 2008) and size (Bornt et al. 2015;Harasti et al. 2018;Malcolm et al. 2018) have been observed within NTZs. Additionally, NTZs may act as an insurance measure against wider fisheries' stock depletion, particularly where NTZs result in higher fish abundance in surrounding areas (Kerwath et al. 2013;Russ et al. 2008;Sackett et al. 2017). ...
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Inherent differences between baited remote video versus diver-operated video survey methodologies may influence their ability to detect effects of fishing. Here, the ability of no-take zones (NTZs) to provide protection for legal-sized fish from targeted species within the Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP) was assessed using both baited remote underwater stereo-video (stereo-BRUV) and diver-operated stereo-video (stereo-DOV). The relative abundance of legal-sized individuals of three recreationally targeted fish species, spangled emperor Lethrinus nebulosus , chinaman cod Epinephelus rivulatus and goldspotted trevally Carangoides fulvoguttatus , were examined using both methodologies inside and outside six NTZs across the NMP. Stereo-BRUVs found positive effects of protection on the relative abundance of legal-size C. fulvoguttatus and L. nebulosus in NTZs. Stereo-DOVs, however, did not detect any differences in relative abundances and sizes of these species between areas opened and closed to fishing. These contrasting results suggest that choice of sampling methodology can influence interpretations of the ability of NTZs to provide adequate levels of protection for target species. Our results suggest that stereo-BRUVs are a superior technique to stereo-DOVs for assessing the effectiveness of no-take zones for protection of fishery target species, reflecting bait attraction and an absence of diver influence on fish behaviour.
... In practice, more sustainable fishing methods with high selectivity, or those that avoid benthic habitat damage such as pole-and-line or trolling, may allow continued access for neighbouring communities dependent on fishing for their economic wellbeing. However, it is unlikely to result in longterm food security benefits (as shown by Rife et al., 2013), as sustainable fisheries ultimately rely on healthy, complex and productive trophic structures and biodiversity (Hiddink et al., 2008;Zhou et al., 2010;Thrush et al., 2016). Further research incorporating the economic value of catch alongside food security and conservation objectives may provide an interesting comparison with our study, though such data is not yet available. ...
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The ocean contains an abundance of biodiversity that is vital to global food security. However, marine biodiversity is declining. Marine protected areas and marine reserves have been used to protect biodiversity, conserve threatened species and rebuild exploited species, but are perceived as restrictive to fishing, which has slowed progress towards ocean protection targets. Here, we perform a spatial prioritisation of the ocean to protect biodiversity, threatened species and food security. Food security was quantified using catch in tonnes per km ² , per 0.5-degree cell of the ocean, using data from the Sea Around Us, a global database of industrial, artisanal, subsistence, and recreational fishing catches. Using Representative Biodiversity Areas [RBAs (the top 30% of the ocean based on holistic measures of biodiversity)], maps of 974 threatened species, and catch data for 2,170 exploited species, we find that these multiple, competing objectives are achievable with minimal compromise. Protecting 30% of the ocean using a multi-objective solution could protect 89% of RBAs, 89% of threatened species and maintain access to fishing grounds that provide 89% of global catch. Even when prioritising food security above conservation objectives we find significant protection for biodiversity and threatened species (85% RBAs, 73% threatened species). We highlight four exploited species for improved management, as they are consistently caught in areas of high conservation importance (skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis ; yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares ; Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua ; Chilean jack mackerel, Trachurus murphyi ). We show that a globally coordinated approach to marine conservation and food security is necessary, as regional scale strategies are shown to be less efficient and may result in conflict between food security and conservation objectives. Our results add support for calls to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030, and show where protection would best protect food security and conserve biodiversity and threatened species.
... Many studies have shown that NTZs are useful to investigate the effects of extractive shing on sh assemblages when contrasted with comparable unprotected areas (Halpern, Lester, and McLeod 2010;Malcolm et al. 2016;Watson and Harvey 2007). Increases in sh species richness (Edgar and Barrett 1999;Rife et al. 2013), abundance (Malcolm et al. 2015;Pande et al. 2008) and size (Bornt et al. 2015;Harasti et al. 2018) have been observed within NTZs. Additionally, NTZs may act as an insurance measure against wider sheries' stock depletion, particularly where NTZs result in higher sh abundance in surrounding areas (Kerwath et al. 2013;Russ et al. 2008;Sackett, Kelley, and Drazen 2017). ...
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Inherent differences between baited remote video versus diver-operated video survey methodologies may influence their ability to detect effects of fishing. Here the ability of no-take zones (NTZs) to provide protection for legal-sized fish from targeted species within the Ningaloo Marine Park (NMP) was assessed using both baited remote underwater stereo-video (stereo-BRUV) and diver operated stereo-video (stereo-DOV). The relative abundance of legal-sized individuals of three recreationally targeted fish species, spangled emperor Lethrinus nebulosus, chinaman cod Epinephelus rivulatus and goldspotted trevally Carangoides fulvoguttatus, were examined using both methodologies inside and outside six NTZs across the NMP. Stereo-BRUVs found positive effects of protection on the relative abundance of legal-size C. fulvoguttatus and L. nebulosus in NTZs. Stereo-DOVs, however, did not detect any differences in relative abundances and sizes of these species between areas opened and closed to fishing. These contrasting results suggest that choice of sampling methodology can influence interpretations of the ability of NTZs to provide adequate levels of protection for target species. Thus it is suggested to further investigate the ability of stereo-BRUVs and stereo-DOVs to observe differences in the abundance of targeted species inside and outside of NTZs for the long-term monitoring of the NMP.
... However, only 7.9% of the oceans are designated as MPAs (UNEP-WCMC, IUCN and NGS, 2018; ~17,000 MPAs covering 28.6 million km 2 ), over 2% short of the 10% target for 2020, set by the convention of Biological Diversity's Aichi Target 11 (Lubchenco & Grorud-Colvert, 2015). Furthermore, 'paper parks' (MPAs established without appropriate management and or resources to monitor, maintain or enforce protection) are prevalent despite increased global pressure to protect ecosystems using the MPA approach (Rife et al., 2013). ...
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Designated using a Statutory Instrument in 2008, Lyme Bay marine‐protected area (MPA) is the UK's first and largest example of an ambitious, whole‐site approach to management, to recover and protect reef biodiversity. The whole‐site approach applies consistent management, in this case excluding bottom towed fishing, across the full 206 km ² extent of the MPA, thus protecting a mosaic of reef‐associated habitats from regular damage, while still allowing less destructive fishing methods, such as static gear, rod and line, and diving. To assess the effectiveness of this management strategy for mobile taxa and the sustainability for those taxa that continue to be targeted, Exploited and Non‐Exploited species' populations were compared inside the MPA, relative to open control sites spanning 11 of the 12 years of designation. baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVs) were deployed annually to assess mobile benthic and demersal fauna. Overall, the number of taxa significantly increased in the MPA relative to the open controls while total abundance increased in both treatments. Exploited fish showed increases in number of taxa (430%) and total abundance (370%) inside the MPA over 11 years. Likewise, but to a lesser degree in the open controls, number of taxa of commercially Exploited fish increased over time, potentially showing ‘spillover’ effects from the MPA. Non‐Exploited fish did not show such changes. Regardless of constituting the majority of the fishery value, highly valuable Exploited invertebrates showed no significant changes over time. Synthesis and applications . The Lyme Bay marine‐protected area shows importance of protecting a whole site, comprising mosaics of different benthic habitats, through protection of sessile organisms that contribute to essential fish habitats. This Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management can benefit and maintain sustainable fisheries and species of conservation importance.
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One of the main drivers of marine ecosystem change is fishing activity, bottom trawling being the most intensive fishing practice affecting benthic ecosystems worldwide. In the western Mediterranean Sea, Norway lobster stocks present signs of overexploitation due to trawling pressure, as their biomass and abundance have decreased abruptly during the last few years. No-take fishery reserves, a type of marine protected area where fishing is prohibited, could be efficient management measures to recover Norway lobster overexploited populations and coexisting demersal megafauna. Adopting a BACI (before-after control-impact) approach, we performed experimental fishing surveys before and after 4 years of the implementation of a deep-sea no-take reserve in the northwestern Mediterranean. After 4 years of closure, the Norway lobster population increased in abundance, biomass, body size, and trophic level in the no-take reserve. Our approach also revealed an increase in Norway lobster biomass beyond its boundaries, suggesting a spillover effect. Other demersal fish species also increased in biomass and abundance in the no-take reserve. Based on the results of this study, we suggest that no-take reserves might be an effective measure for recovering the Norway lobster stock and some species present in the same habitat.
Globally, marine communities are experiencing gradual warming and extreme heatwaves causing species to shift in geographic range. As a result, the biological assemblages outside tropical latitudes are being reorganized or "tropicalized" as warm-affinity species become increasingly dominant and cool water species recede, with impacts on our economies, food supply, and health. In the Gulf of California, existing oceanographic discontinuities shape marine communities by creating different assemblages according to environmental affinities. In this study, we show how a known ecological boundary underwent a northward shift of 1.5°latitude because of an average 1°C gradual warming over the last decade (2010-2020) and extreme marine heatwaves threefold more frequent. Such shift homogenized environmental conditions and reconfigured rocky reefs communities. Fish biomass decreased of 43%, whereas invertebrates, which recorded a 35% decrease in overall abundance, showed different community configurations depending on the climate regime. Stony coral species with warm water affinities increased with a reduction of cold-water species during the last El Niño. The long-term consequences of the tropi-calization of these rocky reefs' communities are still uncertain. This study underlines the importance of long-term monitoring of key habitats to quantify, predict, and adapt to future climatic stresses.
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El presente documento detalla la información, la metodología y los resultados de la planeación ecorregional para la conservación marina para el Golfo de California y la costa occidental de Baja California Sur . El estudio fue contratado por The Nature Conservancy (TNC) y desarrollado por Comunidad y Biodiversidad, A.C. (COBI). La región analizada incorpora la unidad de planeación marina denominada ecorregión Golfo de California, que se caracteriza por su alta biodiversidad, su variedad única de hábitats, su alta prioridad por su valor biológico, y el nivel alto de amenazas que enfrenta para su conservación. Para este proceso de análisis se hizo la compilación de bases de datos espaciales (~45,000 registros) de especies, ecosistemas, procesos físicos-biológicos y de usos humanos de los recursos naturales que afectan en forma negativa especies y ecosistemas. Dichos datos fueron proporcionados por distintos investigadores, otros provinieron de procesos de planeación anteriores. Con ayuda del programa MARXAN se determinó el portafolio de sitios prioritarios para la conservación. Dicho portafolio está compuesto por 54 sitios, que corresponden al 14 % de esta ecorregión marina. La planeación siguió los lineamientos propuestos por TNC en la guía denominada “Geografía de la Esperanza” (Groves et al. 2000), lo que nos permitió generar información referenciada en forma espacial. Esperamos que este estudio contribuya al conocimiento de la diversidad de los ambientes marinos y costeros, facilitando la definición y el establecimiento de mejores estrategias de conservación para las áreas marinas prioritarias
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Erisman, B. E., Paredes, G. A., Plomozo-Lugo, T., Cota-Nieto, J. J., Hastings, P. A., and Aburto-Oropeza, O. 2011. Spatial structure of commercial marine fisheries in Northwest Mexico. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 68: . The spatial structure of commercial marine fisheries in Northwest (NW) Mexico was investigated using official landings data from 39 local fisheries offices in the region. Multivariate analyses revealed a clear spatial pattern in fishing activities, in which there was a positive linear relationship between the species composition of fisheries offices and both latitude and longitude. Fisheries offices formed eight distinct clusters organized by similarities in geographic location, species-group composition, and coastal habitat type. Five of the eight clusters comprised offices from the same geographic region and coastal ecosystem, and the other three clusters contained the largest industrial fishing ports in NW Mexico. The results of this study suggest that NW Mexico would benefit from an ecosystem-based management framework that focuses on the direct, spatial connection that exists between coastal habitats, harvested species groups, and fishing activities within each region. Subdivision into five separate regions is proposed, with management attention paid specially to the few industrialized ports whose fishing capacities and geographic ranges of fishing far exceed the other areas.
Technical Report
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EI Programa de Manejo del Parque Nacional Isla Contoy refleja el esfuerzo del gobierno de México, a través de las instituciones federales, estatales y municipales, para salvaguardar un ambiente natural, su biodiversidad y su patrimonio cultural, en congruencia con el aprovechamiento sustentable de los recursos naturales y el desarrollo social de los habitantes del área noreste del estado de Quintana Roo. El Programa de Manejo es un instrumento de planeación que, a partir del conocimiento de los recursos naturales y la problemática del área, plantea la organización, jerarquización y coordinación de acciones que permitirán alcanzar los objetivos de aprovechamiento racional y sostenido, establecidos al decretarse como área natural protegida. Por tanto, este documento debe ser concebido como una herramienta dinámica y flexible, que se retroalimenta y, por tanto, podrá modificarse con base en las políticas de manejo y normatividad dictadas por el Programa de Áreas Naturales Protegidas de México, 1995-2000. El Programa de Manejo del Parque Nacional Isla Contoy fue ejecutado por un grupo de trabajo coordinado por Amigos de Sian Ka’an, A.C. y Biocenosis, A.C., con la participación de un gran número de investigadores en recursos bióticos y abióticos y especialistas en manejo de áreas naturales protegidas. La revisión final del documento fue realizada por personal destacado al área natural protegida y del Instituto Nacional de Ecología. El Programa de Manejo del Parque Nacional Isla Contoy fue presentado a la comunidad el 30 de agosto de 1994 y aprobado por unanimidad durante la sesión de instalación de su Consejo Técnico Asesor, en presencia del Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Quintana Roo, Ing. Mario Ernesto Villanueva Madrid; la entonces Presidenta del Instituto Nacional de Ecología, M. en C. Julia Carabias Lillo y del Presidente Municipal de Isla Mujeres, Biól. Jorge Cárdenas Bazán. El Parque Nacional Isla Contoy se encuentra en el extremo poniente del Canal de Yucatán, precisamente en el límite del Golfo de México y el mar Caribe, constituyendo el elemento más septentrional del sistema insular del Caribe en México y punto terminal del sistema arrecifal que bordea la costa oriental de la península de Yucatán. Es una de las pocas islas del caribe mexicano que presentan aún ecosistemas terrestres en estado prácticamente natural. En ella habitan y se reproducen grandes poblaciones de aves marinas que causan la admiración de sus numerosos visitantes. Desde el punto de vista biológico, las comunidades florística y faunística de la isla constituyen un laboratorio natural para estudiar los procesos de colonización, dispersión y adaptación de las especies en su conquista de tierras alejadas del continente y con condiciones adversas de acceso y establecimiento.
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Can rates of biomass recovery of fished species be inferred reliably from once-only spatial comparisons of no-take marine reserves of different ages and fished areas? We used underwater visual census at 15 no-take marine reserves in the Philippines to both infer and measure such rates. We made a single estimate of the biomass of large predatory fishes (Serranidae, Lutjanidae, Lethrinidae) targeted heavily by fisheries in each of 13 well protected no-take reserves (age range 0.5 to 13 yr), and in nearby nonreserve (fished) sites. We also measured rates of biomass buildup of these fish regularly for 18 yr (1983 to 2001) in 2 no-take reserves (Sumilon, Apo) and nonreserve sites. The duration of protection required to detect significantly higher reserve biomass was similar, but lower for temporal monitoring (3 to 4 yr) than for spatial comparisons (6 yr). The reserve:nonreserve biomass ratios at maximum duration of reserve protection were similar for inferred (9.0) and measured (6.3 to 9.8) estimates. Thus, results of long-term monitoring of 2 reserves may have regional generality. The inferred rate of change of a reserve effect index (log 10 [Reserve biomass + 1 / Nonreserve biomass + 11) with duration of protection did not differ significantly from the measured rate at Sumilon, but was higher than that measured at Apo. A habitat complexity index did not affect estimates of 'reserve effects' significantly in this study, and reserve protection was generally effective. Thus, using similar methods of reserve protection and census on the same target group in similar areas, one can make useful inferences about rates of recovery in no-take marine reserves.
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Marine reserves are quickly gaining popularity as a management option for marine conservation, fisheries, and other human uses of the oceans. Despite the popularity of marine reserves as a management tool, few reserves appear to have been created or designed with an understanding of how reserves affect biological factors or how reserves can be designed to meet biological goals more effectively (e.g., attaining sustainable fish populations). This shortcoming occurs in part because the many studies that have examined the impacts of reserves on marine organisms remain isolated examples or anecdotes; the results of these many studies have not yet been synthesized. Here, I review the empirical work and discuss the theoretical literature to assess the impacts of marine reserves on several biological measures (density, biomass, size of organisms, and diversity), paying particular attention to the role reserve size has in determining those impacts. The results of 89 separate studies show that, on average, with the exception of invertebrate biomass and size, values for all four biological measures are significantly higher inside reserves compared to outside (or after reserve establishment vs. before) when evaluated for both the overall communities and by each functional group within these communities (carniv- orous fishes, herbivorous fishes, planktivorous fishes/invertebrate eaters, and invertebrates). Surprisingly, results also show that the relative impacts of reserves, such as the proportional differences in density or biomass, are independent of reserve size, suggesting that the effects of marine reserves increase directly rather than proportionally with the size of a reserve. However, equal relative differences in biological measures between small and large reserves nearly always translate into greater absolute differences for larger reserves, and so larger reserves may be necessary to meet the goals set for marine reserves. The quality of the data in the reviewed studies varied greatly. To improve data quality in the future, whenever possible, studies should take measurements before and after the creation of a reserve, replicate sampling, and include a suite of representative species. Despite the variable quality of the data, the results from this review suggest that nearly any marine habitat can benefit from the implementation of a reserve. Success of a marine reserve, however, will always be judged against the expectations for that reserve, and so we must keep in mind the goals of a reserve in its design, management, and evaluation.
In order to assess the contribution of fish spawning aggregations and aggregating species to commercial marine fisheries in the Gulf of California, we: (1) investigated associations between the timing of spawning aggregations and monthly trends in commercial landings and ex-vessel revenues for aggregating reef fishes in the southwest Gulf of California and (2) compared present (2000–2005) and past (1956–1961) landings of aggregating species groups from the entire Gulf. Species known to form seasonal spawning aggregations comprised the eight most important commercial reef fish fisheries of the southwest Gulf with respect to landings and ex-vessel revenues, and three of these species increased in annual landings between 1999 and 2007. Peaks in mean monthly landings and revenues for five of eight aggregating species coincided with the timing of their spawning aggregations, whereas commercial fisheries for the remaining three species did not specifically target spawning aggregation periods. Comparisons of past and present landings showed an expansion of targeted species groups, increased landings for most aggregating species groups, and declines in the landings of several large-bodied species groups. Our results suggest that targeted management of spawning aggregations is needed for some but not all species, assessments on the interaction between fisheries and spawning aggregations are needed for most species, and restrictions on certain gear types are necessary to create sustainable fisheries for aggregating fishes in the Gulf.