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Free Content Essential fish habitat and marine reserves: an introduction to the Second Mote Symposium in Fisheries Ecology

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A call for marine reserves has emerged at the forefront of natural resource policy and management for three reasons. First, reserves can protect critical habitat for fishery resources that have been depleted through overharvesting or habitat destruction. Second, they can help conserve marine diversity. Third, in some circumstances, they might be able to enhance the harvest of stocks outside the reserve. The enthusiasm for marine reserves reflects their fit with five themes that recur in current management theory: the desirability of risk-averse resource management, the practical management of human activity, the necessity for new scientific information, the wisdom of protecting habitat damaged by fishing effort, and the perception that new, immediate measures are needed to help restore our fisheries. This symposium was designed to address several questions surrounding these themes. These include questions about when reserves would work best, the optimal siting of reserves, the role of reserves within broader management schemes, the social issues surrounding the implementation of reserves, and whether reserves can actually perform the roles that fisheries scientists hope they will. There is consensus on some of the answers, but not on all; most critically, how well existing reserves can enhance the stock outside of the reserves remains a subject of intense debate.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2000

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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