Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been predicted to have a benefit on the adjacent fisheries through two main factors: the emigration of adults and juvenile individuals to zones where fishing is allowed and the exportation of pelagic eggs and larvae from the spawning stocks inside MPA. The analysis of fish spillover from MPAs is often based on data collected after the implementation of protection.

This study used a methodology based on the combination of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and landings data before and after the establishment of protection for spillover analysis. The authors defined areas of similar size to the protected zone in order to compare them over time. In addition, the spatiotemporal behavior of the hake population was analyzed using the same methodology.

The results show that juveniles concentrated on the continental shelf (0-200 m), whereas the adults were found over the shelf and the slope (300-500 m). The authors found evidence suggesting a positive spillover effect for the juveniles on the continental shelf, enhancing its fishing yields.

The authors conclude that the analysis of longer time series on the performance of the protected area combined with field sampling inside the no-take zone would lead them to confirm effective spillover effect contributing to fisheries’ long-term sustainability in this zone.

Sala-Coromina et al. (2021) European hake (Merluccius merluccius, Linnaeus 1758) spillover analysis using VMS and landings data in a no-take zone in the northern Catalan coast (NW Mediterranean). Fisheries Research 237: 105870.