For many marine fishes, the literature contains indications of a surprising amount of local larval retention, even in species with long pelagic larval durations. In addition, there is circumstantial evidence that, before settlement, larvae accumulate in offshore areas. Proper design
of marine reserves should include consideration of larval accumulation and retention. If retention and accumulation turn out to be common features of local marine population dynamics, areas important to these processes must be included in reserves and in the designation of essential fish habitat.
If recruitment limitation is a common feature of the dynamics of local marine populations, it follows that maintenance of the supply of potential settlers is critical. Extensive larval retention may require major reassessment of fishery-enhancement models of marine reserves that depend on
larval export for their effects.
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