Study

Limited differences in fish and benthic communities and possible cascading effects inside and outside a protected marine area in Sagres (SW Portugal)

  • Published source details Gil Fernández C., Paulo D., Serrão E.A. & Engelen A.H. (2016) Limited differences in fish and benthic communities and possible cascading effects inside and outside a protected marine area in Sagres (SW Portugal). Marine Environmental Research, 114, 12-23.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Designate a Marine Protected Area with a zonation system of activity restrictions

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation

Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Designate a Marine Protected Area with a zonation system of activity restrictions

    A site comparison study in 2013 of four rocky seabed sites inside a marine park with a zonation system in the North Atlantic Ocean, southwest Portugal (Gil Fernandez et al. 2016) found that sites prohibiting nearly all fishing had similar invertebrate species richness to sites where fishing was mostly allowed, two years after implementation. Sites prohibiting nearly all fishing had six species and sites where fishing was mostly allowed had seven species. In addition, abundances of specific groups appeared to vary between sites prohibiting nearly all fishing and sites mostly allowing fishing (sea urchins: 7 vs 31; brittle stars: 4 vs 63; starfish: 0–8 vs 1–39; sea cucumbers: 12 vs 31; octopus: 1 vs 5; data not statistically tested; unit unspecified). Fishery restrictions inside the park were implemented in 2011. In February–May 2013, four partially protected sites were sampled (0–15 m depth): two where nearly all professional and recreational fishing were prohibited (only barnacle extraction permitted), and two where fishing was mostly allowed (bottom trawling and recreational fishing not allowed on Wednesdays). Divers identified and counted all macro-invertebrates (size unspecified) along four 10 × 2 m transects/site.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

  2. Cease or prohibit all types of fishing in a marine protected area

    A site comparison study in 2013 of a rocky seabed area in the Atlantic Ocean, off southwest Portugal (Gil Fernandez et al. 2016) found that a marine protected area where all fishing activity (except barnacle extraction) is prohibited, had a similar total fish species richness, a higher biomass and size, but not density, of seabream Diplodus spp. and a similar abundance, size and biomass of dreamfish Sarpa salpa and wrasses Labrus and Coris spp. compared to an adjacent fished area after two years. Average fish species richness was similar inside (7.8) and outside (4.5) the protected area. Biomass and size of Diplodus spp. was higher inside (biomass: 262 vs 105 g/100 m2; size: 11.3 vs 5.1 cm), but density was similar (3.9 vs 5.4 fish/100 m2). Similar density, size and biomass were recorded inside and outside the protected area for dreamfish (data not reported), and the wrasses Labrus spp. (density: 0.8 vs 0.3 fish/100 m2; size: 18.4 vs 16.0 cm; biomass: 207 vs 21 g/100 m2) and Coris sp. (density: 2.0 vs 4.5 fish/100 m2; size: 6.4 vs 4.3 cm; biomass: 47 vs 107 g/100 m2). In 2011, all fishing activity bar the extraction of barnacles was banned in the marine section of the Natural Park of the Southwest Alentejo and Vicente Coast (28,858 ha). In February and May 2013, fish were surveyed at two locations inside the protected area and two in an adjacent fished area (all fishing permitted, except bottom trawling and recreational fishing on Wednesdays). At each location two 40 m transects were swum by divers and the number and total length of all fish except small benthic species were recorded.

    (Summarised by: Leo Clarke)

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