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Illegal harvesting affects the success of fishing closure areas

Illegal harvesting affects the success of fishing closure areas
Illegal harvesting affects the success of fishing closure areas
There is clear evidence that marine reserves can be used as effective tools to foster the recovery of disturbed ecosystems. In the Azores, intense exploitation of the patellid limpets Patella candei and P. aspera has led to a rapid decline in their populations and subsequent collapse of the fishery in 1985. In 1993, legislation was passed to protect limpets, including the establishment of limpet protected zones (LPZs) where harvesting was completely prohibited. Outside LPZs, a seasonal fishing closure prohibited the harvesting of limpets from October to May. Here we examine the effect of such measures 16 years after they were put into practice. In each of the 3 years examined, limpet density, biomass and size were generally similar both inside and outside the LPZs. In addition, there were clear signs of exploitation as most individual limpets inside the LPZ were smaller than the legal catch size suggesting that illegal harvesting was taking place. Observations confirmed that illegal harvesting of limpets was common both inside and outside LPZs. Lack of enforcement of regulations is therefore a likely reason for the failure of legislation to protect limpet populations and facilitate stock recovery.
exploitation, marine protected areas (MPAs), limpet protected zones (LPZs), seasonal-fishing closures, Patella, limpet harvesting, poaching
0025-3154
929-937
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Jenkins, Stuart R.
63f5521f-fe3a-4dae-b582-4a6a8d3aa936
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b
Medeiros, André R.
5b32897e-4a8f-422f-b6e1-32776481aaaa
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d
Martins, Gustavo M.
c7156a0a-e15c-4b9f-9793-f24d8574e5bc
Jenkins, Stuart R.
63f5521f-fe3a-4dae-b582-4a6a8d3aa936
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Neto, Ana I.
b544e774-2789-421a-997a-278c2520722b
Medeiros, André R.
5b32897e-4a8f-422f-b6e1-32776481aaaa
Thompson, Richard C.
f439ea56-b6dd-48cf-8adb-d9c2ecc6e24d

Martins, Gustavo M., Jenkins, Stuart R., Hawkins, Stephen J., Neto, Ana I., Medeiros, André R. and Thompson, Richard C. (2011) Illegal harvesting affects the success of fishing closure areas. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 91 (4), 929-937. (doi:10.1017/S0025315410001189).

Record type: Article

Abstract

There is clear evidence that marine reserves can be used as effective tools to foster the recovery of disturbed ecosystems. In the Azores, intense exploitation of the patellid limpets Patella candei and P. aspera has led to a rapid decline in their populations and subsequent collapse of the fishery in 1985. In 1993, legislation was passed to protect limpets, including the establishment of limpet protected zones (LPZs) where harvesting was completely prohibited. Outside LPZs, a seasonal fishing closure prohibited the harvesting of limpets from October to May. Here we examine the effect of such measures 16 years after they were put into practice. In each of the 3 years examined, limpet density, biomass and size were generally similar both inside and outside the LPZs. In addition, there were clear signs of exploitation as most individual limpets inside the LPZ were smaller than the legal catch size suggesting that illegal harvesting was taking place. Observations confirmed that illegal harvesting of limpets was common both inside and outside LPZs. Lack of enforcement of regulations is therefore a likely reason for the failure of legislation to protect limpet populations and facilitate stock recovery.

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More information

Published date: 2011
Keywords: exploitation, marine protected areas (MPAs), limpet protected zones (LPZs), seasonal-fishing closures, Patella, limpet harvesting, poaching

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 191613
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/191613
ISSN: 0025-3154
PURE UUID: d8a09922-78b7-4cd6-9213-c2714d5706d9

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Date deposited: 22 Jun 2011 15:12
Last modified: 23 Sep 2019 19:06

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