A recent study has found that marine reserves or protected marine areas cannot restore marine ecosystems on their own.
While they play a crucial role in restoring ecosystems and are an important policy component, they cannot do the job by themselves.
Researchers from the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) at the University of Barcelona, working with scientists from the Group of Ecosystem Oceanography (GRECO) at the Oceanographic Center of the Balearic Islands published their latest work in the ICES Journal of Marine Science.
According to the article’s first signature, Lluís Cardona, from IRBio:
“This study shows that with only the small-scale marine reserves, it is not enough to conserve the functionality of marine ecosystems. In areas with an intense fishing pressure, both professional and recreational, exploited areas have more influence on small reserves.”
“Marine reserves favor the recovery of species such as the dusky grouper, but not other highly mobile and large species such as sharks, dolphins and seals. Even species such as the sea bass have problems recovering in Galicia’s marine reserves. The lack of these species is what prevents the emergence of differences in food webs between reserves and areas open to fishing, in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, beyond the recovery of the biomass of some sedentary species … reducing the impact on highly mobile and large species in the areas that are open to fishing, since marine reserves alone can do little to protect these species.”
You can find the original research here.