By Jenny Willis, Reef Check Indonesia
Recent research supports observations from Reef Check Indonesia that marine reserves increase the diversity and abundance of plants and animals within them.
The Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) has completed a review of more than 200 peer-reviewed recent scientific publications about 150 marine protected areas in 61 countries, and has concluded:
• Biomass, or the mass of animals and plants, increased an average of 446%.
• Density, or the number of plants or animals in a given area, increased an average of 166%.
• Body Size of animals increased an average of 28%.
• Species Density, or the number of species, increased an average of 21% in the sample area.
It also found that increases were similar in places of different latitude, in both temperate and tropical reserves.
Reef Check Indonesia Field Officer, Derta Prabuning said the finding of the PISCO research is supported by anecdotal reports given to him by local fishermen.
“Additional to the ecological monitoring we do regularly, the best indication comes from what we hear from the fishermen’s experience. Fishermen are saying there appears to be increasing fish abundance since the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) were set up in Bondalem (2008) and Tejakula (2009).”
Derta also said it now appears that more rare ornamental fish can be found in the LMMAs and that there appears to be lots of new coral growing. More research is needed in Indonesia to verify these observations.
You can read the report from PISCO here at http://www.piscoweb.org/publications/outreach-materials/science-of-marine-reserves-0