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Changes in fish assemblages following ten years of protection in Tasmanian marine protected areas


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Barrett, NS, Edgar, GJ, Buxton, CD and Haddon, M 2007 , 'Changes in fish assemblages following ten years of protection in Tasmanian marine protected areas' , Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, vol. 345, no. 2 , 141 - 157 , doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2007.02.007.

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Most studies examining effects of marine protected areas (MPAs) on fish assemblages are potentially confounded, either
because they are once off comparisons between fished and unfished locations, or because they are snapshot studies over a fixed
period. Here we compare long-term changes within fully protected Tasmanian marine reserves with changes at external reference
sites on an annual basis over the first ten years of protection. The results highlight the importance of long-term datasets for
differentiating changes occurring over differing time scales. Notable results include a statistically significant increase in abundance
of Latridopsis forsteri and large fish (N300 mm) when examined across all reserves relative to controls, and a 10-fold increase in
the abundance of large fish and a doubling of per site species richness of large fish within the Tinderbox Marine Reserve relative to
controls. Short-term resident species that recruit sporadically show very different patterns in reserves compared to those that recruit
regularly and have long-term age-class storage. While several recent reviews have suggested size of MPAs and duration of
protection has little influence on the extent of recovery, our results suggest this is not the case and that responses can be slow,
complex and species-specific. The extent of localised fishing pressure appeared to have a substantial influence on the degree of
change detected, potentially confounding meta-analyses of recovery rates in MPAs if overlooked as a relevant parameter.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Barrett, NS and Edgar, GJ and Buxton, CD and Haddon, M
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0022-0981
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.jembe.2007.02.007
Additional Information:

Effects of fishing; Long-term analysis; Marine reserve; Reserve size

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