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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Laurel, B.J. and I.R. Bradbury. 2006. “Big” concerns with high latitude marine protected areas (MPAs): trends in connectivity and MPA size. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63:2603-2607.


The success of marine protected areas (MPAs) as fisheries management tools in tropical latitudes has generated interest in their applicability and potential elsewhere.  Here we suggest that dispersal and gene flow in marine fish populations (a primary biological consideration for marine reserve design) increases with latitude.  For example, north temperate fish species at latitudes between 40° and 45° had about three times greater dispersal potential (planktonic larval duration (PLD), n = 96 species) and genetic homogeneity (FST, n = 100 species) than fish species near equatorial regions.  Using the PLD and FST relationships, dispersal increases at a rate of ~8% per degree of latitude north or south of the equator.  Therefore tropical MPAs should not serve as direct scalar templates in other regions, but rather should be used as a basis against which higher- latitude MPAs should be scaled.  However, a review of 429 existing MPAs indicates that no such changes in reserve size have been implemented with respect to latitude.  Fisheries managers must be prepared and willing to implement MPAs at large scales in high latitudes, either as single reserves or in a network, or else we lose the legitimacy of a new and promising management tool for conserving marine biodiversity in cold ocean regions.


Last updated 30 March, 2009

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