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Ecol Lett. 2008 Apr;11(4):370-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2007.01151.x. Epub 2008 Jan 19.

Marine reserve effects on fishery profit.

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Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


Some studies suggest that fishery yields can be higher with reserves than under conventional management. However, the economic performance of fisheries depends on economic profit, not fish yield. The predictions of higher yields with reserves rely on intensive fishing pressures between reserves; the exorbitant costs of harvesting low-density populations erode profits. We incorporated this effect into a bioeconomic model to evaluate the economic performance of reserve-based management. Our results indicate that reserves can still benefit fisheries, even those targeting species that are expensive to harvest. However, in contrast to studies focused on yield, only a moderate proportion of the coast in reserves (with moderate harvest pressures outside reserves) is required to maximize profit. Furthermore, reserve area and harvest intensity can be traded off with little impact on profits, allowing for management flexibility while still providing higher profit than attainable under conventional management.

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