Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 739–750

Ecosystem-Based Analysis of a Marine Protected Area Where Fisheries and Protected Species Coexist

  • Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio
  • Gabriela Montaño-Moctezuma
  • Ileana Espejel

DOI: 10.1007/s00267-010-9451-0

Cite this article as:
Espinoza-Tenorio, A., Montaño-Moctezuma, G. & Espejel, I. Environmental Management (2010) 45: 739. doi:10.1007/s00267-010-9451-0


The Gulf of California Biosphere Reserve (UGC&CRDBR) is a Marine Protected Area that was established in 1993 with the aim of preserving biodiversity and remediating environmental impacts. Because remaining vigilant is hard and because regulatory measures are difficult to enforce, harvesting has been allowed to diminish poaching. Useful management strategies have not been implemented, however, and conflicts remain between conservation legislation and the fisheries. We developed a transdisciplinary methodological scheme (pressure-state-response, loop analysis, and Geographic Information System) that includes both protected species and fisheries modeled together in a spatially represented marine ecosystem. We analyzed the response of this marine ecosystem supposing that conservation strategies were successful and that the abundance of protected species had increased. The final aim of this study was to identify ecosystem-level management alternatives capable of diminishing the conflict between conservation measures and fisheries. This methodological integration aimed to understand the functioning of the UGC&CRDBR community as well as to identify implications of conservation strategies such as the recovery of protected species. Our results suggest research hypotheses related to key species that should be protected within the ecosystem, and they point out the importance of considering spatial management strategies. Counterintuitive findings underline the importance of understanding how the community responds to disturbances and the effect of indirect pathways on the abundance of ecosystem constituents. Insights from this research are valuable in defining policies in marine reserves where fisheries and protected species coexist.


Ecosystem-based managementGeographical Information SystemsLocal ecological knowledgeLoop analysisMarine protected areasFisheries and protected speciesUpper Gulf of California and Colorado River Delta Biosphere Reserve

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro Espinoza-Tenorio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriela Montaño-Moctezuma
    • 3
  • Ileana Espejel
    • 4
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias MarinasUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuana-Ensenada, EnsenadaMexico
  2. 2.Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine EcologyBremenGermany
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones OceanológicasUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuana-Ensenada, EnsenadaMexico
  4. 4.Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Autónoma de Baja CaliforniaTijuana-Ensenada, EnsenadaMexico