Our work on marine protected areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are one of the main tools available to reduce the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems, and as such understanding whether they work and how to make them work better is critically important for marine conservation.  TMEL was the first group to use meta-analyses of published data to demonstrate the effectiveness of MPAs at enhancing fish populations (Mosqueira et al. 2000, Côté et al. 2001).  We are continuing to gain important insights about MPAs from analyses of our ever-growing MPA database.  Most recently, we showed that virtually all MPAs had more fish within their boundaries 15+ years after establishment, and that the early performance of MPAs at enhancing fish density did not predict at all their performance a decade after establishment (Molloy et al. 2009).  Such results have important implications: managers should give MPAs time to work and invest in them with a long-term perspective.

Recent work on MPAs in TMEL includes linking land use and terrestrial sediment production to coral reef health in and out of reserves (Chantale Bégin), measuring the effectiveness of Rockfish Conservation Areas in BC (Ryan Cloutier), assessing the extent of rockfish bycatch in spot prawn traps in and out of RCAs (Brett Favaro), and examining through meta-analysis the dynamics of rapid increases in newly established reserves (Dr Phil Molloy).

Some of our publications on marine protected areas

  • Stewart, G.B., Kaiser, M.J., Côté, I.M., Halpern, B.S., Lester, S.E., Bayliss, H.R. and Pullin, A.S. 2009. Temperate marine reserves: global ecological effects and guidelines for future networks. Conservation Letters 2, 243-253.
  • Molloy, P.P., McLean, I.B. and Côté, I.M. 2009. Effects of marine reserve age on fish populations: a global meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology 46, 743-751.
  • Molloy, P.P., Reynolds, J. D., Gage, M.J.G., Mosqueira, I. and Côté, I.M. 2008. Links between sex change and fish densities in marine protected areas.  Biological Conservation 10, 30-38
  • Mosqueira, I., Côté, I.M., Jennings, S., and Reynolds, J.D.  2000. Conservation benefits of marine reserves for fish populations.  Animal Conservation 4, 321-332.


See also

Jessen, S., Chan, K., Côté, I.M., Dearden, P., De Santo, E., Fortin, M.J., Guichard, F., Haider, W., Jamieson, G., Kramer, D.L., McCrea-Strub, A., Mulrennan, M., Montevecchi, W.A., Roff , J., Salomon, A., Gardner, J., Honka, L., Menafra, R. and Woodley, A.. 2011. Science-based Guidelines forMPAs and MPA Networks in Canada. Vancouver: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. 58 pp.