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M ARINE R ESERVES AND L OCAL F ISHERIES An Interactive Simulation Simulation Exercise Eugenia Naro-Maciel and Daniel R. Brumbaugh Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History New York, 10024, USA I NTRODUCTION In many tropical marine areas such as the Caribbean, one finds productive ecosystems harboring a large diversity of organisms. People also live in these places, and harvest marine organisms for their livelihoods. The complex question arises: How to balance marine biodiversity conservation and local fishery activities? Marine protected areas, including marine reserves that completely ban fishing and other extractive activities, are a promising approach for addressing both of these factors. This simulation-based exercise is an educational tool that allows users to 1) Explore various factors that influence fish population viability and fishery sustainability; and 2) Experiment with the use of marine reserves as tools in fisheries management. H IGHLIGHTS The exercise allows Interactive experimentation by users with marine reserve configurations and species and fishing parameters; Visualization of habitat suitability for three Caribbean fisheries species; Visualization of species abundances and fishing profits over time; Visualization of average harvest catch, effort, profits, and the source of these profits across space; and Saving of all input parameters and simulation results. W HY IS THIS IMPORTANT ? Although the total amount of fisheries catches appears to have a reached a global maximum over the last decade (Watson and Pauly 2001), many local fisheries are known to be declining worldwide. Whereas industrial scale commercial fisheries often switch to new stocks and species after depleting a resource (sometimes leading to a pattern of serial depletions), people in smaller scale, coastal fisheries are much more vulnerable to fisheries collapses. Coral-reef fisheries, due to their relatively small areas, the slow growth and maturation rates of many reef fishes, and the complex community interactions in reef ecosystems, are especially susceptible to overfishing and habitat degradation (Birkeland 2001). Moreover, Last revised 1/26/2007
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overexploitation of key reef species has contributed to the instability and decline of coral reefs, leading to threats to the biological diversity of these rich, biodiverse ecosystems (Hughes et al. 2003, Mumby et al. 2006). Marine protected areas (MPAs), including marine reserves that restrict all take (or harvest), provide tools for addressing threats from overfishing to both the sustainability of local fisheries and the conservation of biodiversity (NRC 2001). A protected area has been defined as an “area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means” (IUCN, 1994). Protected areas, also known as parks, reserves, and by a suite of other names, have been established at international, regional, national, state, and local scales, and many are linked as networks or other systems. Marine
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