Please select your home edition
Edition
Kiwi Yachting - Lewmar - 1

Scientists call for large ocean wilderness parks

by ARC Center of Excellence on 19 Apr 2013
Coral reefs protection is currently being pushed by leading scientist ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies © http://www.coralcoe.org.au/
Leading international marine scientists have called for the protection of more, large marine wilderness areas in a bid to shield the world’s dwindling stocks of fish from destruction.

Working in the world’s largest unfished marine reserve, the remote Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean, scientists from Australia and the US have shown there is a dramatic difference in the numbers, size and variety of fish compared with smaller marine parks.

Their findings in two new reports provide the world’s first clear evidence that large-scale marine wilderness reserves are better for conserving fish than the far more common, small marine protected areas (MPAs) that many governments and fishing communities are presently implementing.

'The bottom line is that we found six times more fish in the Chagos ‘no take’ area than we did in even the best-managed Marine Reserves elsewhere in the Indian Ocean,' says lead author of the reports, Dr Nick Graham of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

'There was also a dramatic difference in types of species that dominate with a far richer variety of predatory and large-bodied fish species with big home ranges in the Chagos,' adds his colleague, Dr. Tim McClanahan, of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Reef shot

Coral cover in the Chagos area was almost complete, having recovered rapidly from a major bleaching episode, in 1998.



The Chagos Archipelago, also known as the British Indian Ocean Territory, and its entire 640,000 square kilometre area was designated a no-take zone in April 2010, making it the largest such marine reserve in the world. It is in the central Indian Ocean due south of the Maldives.

'In recent times there have been bold moves by nations such as Britain, Australia and the United States to set aside much larger areas of open ocean in an effort to try to conserve fish stocks that appear to be dwindling all around the planet,' Dr Graham explains.

'What wasn’t clearly known before now was whether there is a significant difference in conservation impact of large remote unfished reserves of 1000s of square kilometers, as opposed to the much smaller ones of tens of square kilometers that are typical of populated coastlines. Well, now we know the answer.'

Reef shark

The researchers say it is important to have large areas of oceans protected from human impacts, not only to preserve fish stocks and protect vulnerable marine species – but also as an undisturbed baseline for understanding the changes that human population pressures and climate change are bringing to the oceans as a whole.



'There seems little doubt that formal legislative protection of some of the world’s last remaining marine ‘wilderness’ locations, such as the Chagos protected area, is a critical step to maintaining some near-pristine legacy areas in the oceans,' they say.

The researchers acknowledge that marine reserves closer to centres of human population require different kinds of management and need to be smaller, to ensure that people can still draw their livelihoods and food from the sea – and these smaller marine reserves also provide important conservation gains.

As world fish stocks decline, large remote wilderness reserves require careful protection against plundering by illegal and ‘pirate’ fishing concerns.

'Clearly marine wilderness does promote a unique ecological community, which smaller no-take areas fail to attain, and formal legislation is therefore critical to protect these last marine wilderness areas,' the scientists conclude.

Their findings and comments are in a new scientific article 'The last call for marine wilderness?' by Nick Graham and Tim McClanahan in the journal Bioscience, and a chapter by Nick Graham, Morgan Pratchett, Tim McClanahan and Shaun Wilson in a forthcoming book, Coral Reefs of the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (Springer ARC Center of Excellence

InSunSport - NZPantaenius - Worldwide SupportEnsign 660

Related Articles

A slithery ocean mystery
One sentence in a New York Times article caught Larry Pratt’s eye and set the scientific investigation in motion. One sentence in a New York Times article caught Larry Pratt’s eye and set the scientific investigation in motion. The story was about fishermen harvesting juvenile eels in coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine and selling them for more than $2,500 a pound, mostly for unagi in Asian fish markets.
Posted today at 12:13 am
A slithery ocean mystery
One sentence in a New York Times article caught Larry Pratt’s eye and set the scientific investigation in motion. One sentence in a New York Times article caught Larry Pratt’s eye and set the scientific investigation in motion. The story was about fishermen harvesting juvenile eels in coastal waters of the Gulf of Maine and selling them for more than $2,500 a pound, mostly for unagi in Asian fish markets.
Posted today at 12:13 am
New fishing season is a mere 30 days away
Time to start visualising the zing of a reel and bend of a rod, as the little hints of spring and summer start appearing Reports from around the regions (we would say this, of course) hint at some great fishing to be had, as the days lengthen and temperatures slowly rise!
Posted on 29 Aug
More net free fishing at Gippsland River Mouths
Migratory fish in Gippsland Lakes will have more protection at river mouths when exclusion areas for commercial netting Migratory fish in the Gippsland Lakes will have more protection at river mouths when exclusion areas for commercial netting are expanded by 50 per cent under new arrangements to be introduced next year by the Andrews Labor Government.
Posted on 26 Aug
Stacer’s Ocean Rangers are now tougher than ever
The new 589 Ocean Ranger now features more freeboard at 730mm, bringing the model in line with the rest of the range. Due to customer demand Stacer has released two new models in their plate range to now include the 589 and 619 Ocean Ranger Hard Tops offering a more budget friendly option that is still packed with power and strength.
Posted on 17 Aug
Shark 'trophy' hunters land in hot water
Two young men who removed the jaws of a dead Great White Shark have found themselves in trouble with the law. Two young men who removed the jaws of a dead Great White Shark have found themselves in trouble with the law.
Posted on 16 Aug
Port Phillip Bay Fishers gather to celebrate Bay fishing
Jaala Pulford welcomed key fishing industry representatives and recreational anglers to Port Phillip Bay Conference Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford today welcomed key fishing industry representatives and recreational anglers to the first Port Phillip Bay Conference in Altona.
Posted on 13 Aug
Trout opening festival expands to include Ballarat
To welcome opening of trout fishing season Goulburn Fishing Festival will be joined by a similar event at Ballarat To welcome the opening of the 2016 trout fishing season in rivers the popular Goulburn Fishing Festival will be joined by a similar family-friendly event at Ballarat this year on Saturday 3 September.
Posted on 12 Aug
TowBoatUS Ocean City removes harmful fishing nets
Earlier this summer, three miles of open water was all that separated two efforts to protect and nurture marine life Earlier this summer, three miles of open water was all that separated two efforts to protect and nurture marine life on the Atlantic Coast.
Posted on 12 Aug
Mansfield trout conference a must for anglers
Recreational anglers can learn about Victoria’s wild trout fisheries at a free one day conference on Saturday 5 November Recreational anglers can learn more about Victoria’s wild trout fisheries at a free one day conference on Saturday 5 November at Mansfield.
Posted on 10 Aug