Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an essential tool for reversing the global degradation of ocean life. Hence, it is important to know which types of MPAs are more effective, and under which conditions.

This short paper shows, through a meta-analysis of previous studies, that biomass of whole fish assemblages in no-take marine reserves is, on average, 670% greater than in adjacent unprotected areas, and 343% greater than in partially-protected MPAs.

The authors conclude that no-take marine reserves are the most effective type of MPA. They restore the biomass and structure of fish assemblages, and restore ecosystems to a more complex and resilient state. It is stated that, while marine reserves are no panacea for the ocean’s problems, they provide outstanding ecological and economic benefits within and beyond their boundaries, providing more than what they were initially designed for.

Sala E, Giakoumi S (2017) No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean. ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx059

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