A new peer-reviewed research paper in the Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science journal has found that Feature-based MPAs in the UK may not be not fulfilling their potential to recover biodiversity.
The paper, authored by researchers from the University of Plymouth and the Government of Jersey, found that removal of bottom-towed fishing from whole-site Marine Protected Areas promotes mobile species biodiversity.
The study states that MPAs that exclude bottom-towed fishing activities from all habitats within their boundaries while still allowing static gear fishing, taking a “whole-site approach”, have shown benefits in terms of increasing biodiversity and biomass on reef habitat.
This study provides the first account of how a whole-site approach for mixed sediment habitats in three MPAs affects mobile species. These results evidence the merit of an ecosystem-based approach to MPA management for species of both conservation and commercial importance.
Highlights from the research paper include:
- Recovery detected in whole-site Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) three years after designation.
- Interstitial habitats between reef features show increased species richness following protection from bottom towed fishing.
- An ecosystem-based approach to marine management supports biodiversity.
- Feature-based MPAs in the UK may not be not fulfilling their potential to recover biodiversity.
For further information and to read the research paper click here.