Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Effects of fish movement and environmental variability in the design and success of a marine protected area
by Cornejo Donoso, Jorge Fernando, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016, 100; 10103605
Abstract (Summary)

Marine Protected Areas (MPA) are broadly used to protect marine ecosystems, restore biomass, and increasingly as tools in fisheries management for benthic stocks. Nevertheless, MPAs are seldom used to target pelagic species due the challenges of designing an effective MPA in a highly dynamic environment. It is believed that highly mobile organisms will get few benefits, since they leave the protected area too frequently. One possible solution is to compensate for such movement with larger MPAs. Nevertheless, uncertainty about the benefits in the face of vagaries about fish movement make it unlikely that such efforts would be successfully pursued.

Although it is a generally accepted that MPAs provide multiple benefits if well designed, empirical demonstrations of benefits from MPA are hard to obtain. They require long term evaluations, and as a consequence, comparisons between alternative MPA designs are almost nonexistent. Simulation models provide an alternative to empirical approaches that allow tests of designs and forecasts of potential outcomes. To date, most of the simulation models of MPAs have been developed for benthic systems, where simplified assumptions about fish and fisherman movement are reasonable. Fortunately, with the advent of more realistic fish movement models, new approaches are now possible that can combine complex individual-based models of movement, population dynamics and virtual MPA systems. The use of these new complex simulation models can guide the optimization of MPA design to increase both stock sizes and fisheries yields.

The goal of the research presented in this dissertation is to study the potential of a large MPA to protect a pelagic stock and determine how fish movement characteristics and complex environmental dynamics influence the optimal design criteria for a successful pelagic MPA. The findings are timely given increasing interest in developing large no fishing zones to protect overfished pelagic stocks, especially for those taxa whose distribution spans more than one exclusive economic zone or resides in international waters. For this purpose I implemented a simulation model that incorporates detailed fish movement and their responses to complex environmental forcing to study the effect of fish movement on the efficacy of MPAs of different size and location. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.)

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gaines, Steven D.
Commitee: Birnir, Bjorn, Gaines, Steven D., Kendall, Bruce
School: University of California, Santa Barbara
Department: Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Ecology, Environmental management, Aquatic sciences
Keywords: Fishery, IBM, Individual based models, MPA, Management, Marine protected areas
Publication Number: 10103605
ISBN: 9781339671710
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