While the long-term conservation benefits of marine reserves are widely recognized, particularly for species that are "homebodies," a lack of information about how reserves will affect more mobile fish species like Pacific salmon, cod, rockfishes, sharks, and flounders, has fueled the debate over marine reserves. Fishermen, managers, and scientists alike are asking whether place-based measures will truly protect these economically important species.
Scientists speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting on February 13th at 9am, revealed how new acoustic tags and underwater listening devices are allowing scientists to continuously peer into the daily lives of fish, providing the detailed knowledge needed to design effective conservation measures. New data on fish movement and habitat use are allowing managers, fishermen, environmentalists and others to evaluate trade-offs of different reserve sizes and locations.
"On land, scientists know where elk or bears roam, what their daily habits are, how far they go from home, but until recently we haven't had the tools to study daily movements of marine fishes," says Richard Starr of the University of California Sea Grant Program. "You have to have this information to understand the value of a marine reserve it would do no good to block off a section of the ocean and then have all the fish swim out of the area."
"Until recently, scientists have pieced together the movements of marine fish from isolated data points playing a 'connect the dots' game as fishermen reported recovered tags," said James Lindholm of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research. "We could tell that a cod ended up 4
Contact: Jessica Brown