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The science of European marine reserves: Status, efficacy, and future needs

The science of European marine reserves: Status, efficacy, and future needs
The science of European marine reserves: Status, efficacy, and future needs
The ecologically and socio-economically important marine ecosystems of Europe are facing severe threats from a variety of human impacts. To mitigate and potentially reverse some of these impacts, the European Union (EU) has mandated the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in order to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in EU waters by 2020. The primary initiative for achieving GES is the implementation of coherent networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Marine reserves are an important type of MPA in which no extraction is allowed, but their usefulness depends upon a number of ecological, management, and political factors. This paper provides a synthesis of the ecological effects of existing European marine reserves and the factors (social and ecological) underlying their effectiveness. Results show that existing European marine reserves foster significant positive increases in key biological variables (density, biomass, body size, and species richness) compared with areas receiving less protection, a pattern mirrored by marine reserves around the globe. For marine reserves to achieve their ecological and social goals, however, they must be designed, managed, and enforced properly. In addition, identifying whether protected areas are ecologically connected as a network, as well as where new MPAs should be established according to the MSFD, requires information on the connectivity of populations across large areas. The adoption of the MSFD demonstrates willingness to achieve the long-term protection of Europe's marine ecosystems, but whether the political will (local, regional, and continent wide) is strong enough to see its mandates through remains to be seen. Although the MSFD does not explicitly require marine reserves, an important step towards the protection of Europe's marine ecosystems is the establishment of marine reserves within wider-use MPAs as connected networks across large spatial scales.
Marine protected areas, Marine reserves, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Conservation, Spillover, Europe
1012-1021
Fenberg, Phillip B.
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Caselle, Jennifer E.
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Claudet, Joachim
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Clemence, Michaela
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Gaines, Steven D.
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Antonio García-Charton, Jose
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Gonçalves, Emanuel J.
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Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten
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Guidetti, Paolo
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Jenkins, Stuart R.
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Jones, Peter J.S.
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Lester, Sarah E.
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McAllen, Rob
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Moland, Even
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Planes, Serge
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Sørensen, Thomas K.
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Fenberg, Phillip B.
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Caselle, Jennifer E.
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Claudet, Joachim
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Clemence, Michaela
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Gaines, Steven D.
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Antonio García-Charton, Jose
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Gonçalves, Emanuel J.
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Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten
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Guidetti, Paolo
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Jenkins, Stuart R.
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Jones, Peter J.S.
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Lester, Sarah E.
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McAllen, Rob
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Moland, Even
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Planes, Serge
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Sørensen, Thomas K.
b0bec5ca-08d1-4315-aa46-c468dc68a2a7

Fenberg, Phillip B., Caselle, Jennifer E., Claudet, Joachim, Clemence, Michaela, Gaines, Steven D., Antonio García-Charton, Jose, Gonçalves, Emanuel J., Grorud-Colvert, Kirsten, Guidetti, Paolo, Jenkins, Stuart R., Jones, Peter J.S., Lester, Sarah E., McAllen, Rob, Moland, Even, Planes, Serge and Sørensen, Thomas K. (2012) The science of European marine reserves: Status, efficacy, and future needs. Marine Policy, 36 (5), 1012-1021. (doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2012.02.021).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The ecologically and socio-economically important marine ecosystems of Europe are facing severe threats from a variety of human impacts. To mitigate and potentially reverse some of these impacts, the European Union (EU) has mandated the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in order to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in EU waters by 2020. The primary initiative for achieving GES is the implementation of coherent networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). Marine reserves are an important type of MPA in which no extraction is allowed, but their usefulness depends upon a number of ecological, management, and political factors. This paper provides a synthesis of the ecological effects of existing European marine reserves and the factors (social and ecological) underlying their effectiveness. Results show that existing European marine reserves foster significant positive increases in key biological variables (density, biomass, body size, and species richness) compared with areas receiving less protection, a pattern mirrored by marine reserves around the globe. For marine reserves to achieve their ecological and social goals, however, they must be designed, managed, and enforced properly. In addition, identifying whether protected areas are ecologically connected as a network, as well as where new MPAs should be established according to the MSFD, requires information on the connectivity of populations across large areas. The adoption of the MSFD demonstrates willingness to achieve the long-term protection of Europe's marine ecosystems, but whether the political will (local, regional, and continent wide) is strong enough to see its mandates through remains to be seen. Although the MSFD does not explicitly require marine reserves, an important step towards the protection of Europe's marine ecosystems is the establishment of marine reserves within wider-use MPAs as connected networks across large spatial scales.

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Published date: September 2012
Keywords: Marine protected areas, Marine reserves, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Conservation, Spillover, Europe
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

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Local EPrints ID: 358575
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/358575
PURE UUID: 4185c2ca-b050-4410-9243-9db4ab44e755

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Date deposited: 08 Oct 2013 15:19
Last modified: 09 Jan 2022 03:28

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Contributors

Author: Jennifer E. Caselle
Author: Joachim Claudet
Author: Michaela Clemence
Author: Steven D. Gaines
Author: Jose Antonio García-Charton
Author: Emanuel J. Gonçalves
Author: Kirsten Grorud-Colvert
Author: Paolo Guidetti
Author: Stuart R. Jenkins
Author: Peter J.S. Jones
Author: Sarah E. Lester
Author: Rob McAllen
Author: Even Moland
Author: Serge Planes
Author: Thomas K. Sørensen

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