Evaluating the effectiveness of a marine reserve network in Hawai段 to increase the productivity of an aquarium fishery
Tissot, Brian N.*; William J. Walsh; Leon E. Hallacher
Washington State Univ., Vancouver, WA.; Division of Aquatic Resources, Kona, HI; Dept. Biology, Univ. Hawai段, Hilo, HI.
A network of nine marine reserves was demarcated in West Hawai段 in 2000 in response to declines of reef fishes taken by aquarium collectors. In 1999, the West Hawai段 Aquarium Project (WHAP) established 23 study sites in reserve, open and control areas (existing protected areas) to collect data both prior to and after the closure of the reserve network in 2000. To date we have conducted 19 bimonthly surveys as well as surveys of the benthic habitats of all sites. Baseline surveys, done prior to reserve closure, document strong effects of aquarium collector harvesting on selected fishes. On average, aquarium fishes were 26% less abundant in newly-established reserves (formerly open) than adjacent control areas. Analysis of post-closure surveys in 2000-2002 using a Before-After-Control-Impact procedure provided evidence of an increase of aquarium fishes in reserves, probably due to the high number of newly recruited fishes observed in 2001-2002. Large recruitment events are rare in West Hawai段 but are likely to be an important factor in the effectiveness of marine reserves to help replenish depleted fish populations.
Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists, Monterey, CA, Nov. 2002.