Can private management compensate the ineffective marine reserves in China?
- 457 Downloads
Marine reserves (MRs) have emerged as a preferred method to protect coral reefs from overfishing and human disturbance. However, due to ineffective enforcement by governments, many MRs have been reduced to mere “paper parks” which fail to achieve conservation goals. This is especially true in countries such as China where compliance is low and resources dedicated to enforcement may be scarce. Privately managed marine reserves (PMMRs) may be effective in areas where government enforcement is lacking. To determine if PMMRs are a viable alternative strategy to protect coral reefs, we surveyed and compared fish assemblages and coral coverage in national MRs in Sanya, China to areas of reef privately leased to and managed by dive operators and hospitality industries. We found higher fish abundances and fish sizes in PMMR sites than in MR sites. However, while PMMRs are protected from fishing, other human impacts such as marine debris and illegal coral collection were evident in most tourist sites. Despite protection, long-term monitoring data of PMMRs revealed that in recent years, fish abundances have slightly recovered but species richness has not, indicating the need for a more comprehensive coral reef management plan. We strongly recommend coupling PMMRs with expertise supported regulations as an alternative coral reef management strategy in China.
KeywordsCoral Reefs Marine protected areas Privately managed reserves South China Sea
Funding of this study was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1301232, 41306144, 41476134), the Public science and technology research funds projects of ocean (Grant 201305030-3), Chinese Postdoctoral Funding (129474), and Taiwanese Visiting Scholar Fellowship. We are grateful to many people, who assisted in fieldwork and sample collection, especially Siobhan Heatwole and Nathaniel Maynard for the English proofreading.
- Albuquerque, T., M. Loiola, C.C. José de Anchieta, J.A. Reis-Filho, C.L. Sampaio, and A.O. Leduc. 2014. In situ effects of human disturbances on coral reef-fish assemblage structure: Temporary and persisting changes are reflected as a result of intensive tourism. Marine & Freshwater Research 66: 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Claudet, J., D. Pelletier, J.Y. Jouvenel, F. Bachet, and R. Galzin. 2006. Assessing the effects of marine protected area (MPA) on a reef fish assemblage in a northwestern Mediterranean marine reserve: Identifying community-based indicators. Biological Conservation 130: 349–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Colwell, S. 1998. Dive-tourism and private stewardship of small-scale coral reef marine protected areas. In Proceedings of the international tropical marine ecosystems management symposium, 217–221. Townville Australia.Google Scholar
- English, S.S., C.C. Wilkinson, and V.V. Baker. 1994. Survey manual for tropical marine resources. Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).Google Scholar
- Govan, H., A. Tawake, K. Tabunakawai, A. Jenkins, A. Lasgorceix, A. M. Schwarz, B. Aalbersberg, B. Manele, et al. 2009. Status and Potential of Locally-managed Marine Areas in the South Pacific: Meeting Nature Conservation and Sustainable Livelihood Targets Through Wide-spread Implementation of LMMAs: Study Report. Coral Reef Initiatives for the Pacific.Google Scholar
- Groves, C., L. Valutis, D. Vosick, B. Neely, K. Wheaton, J. Touval, and B. Runnels. 2000. Designing a geography of hope: A practitioner’s handbook for ecoregional conservation planning. Arlington, VA: The Nature Conservancy.Google Scholar
- Huang, H., X.B. Li, J.H. Yang, J.S. Lian, and L.M. Huang. 2009. An outbreak of the colonial sand tube worm, Phragmatopoma sp., threatens the survival of scleractinian corals. Zoological Studies 48: 106.Google Scholar
- Li, X.-B., H. Huang, J.-S. Lian, S. Liu, L.-M. Huang, and J.-H. Yang. 2013. Spatial and temporal variations in sediment accumulation and their impacts on coral communities in the Sanya Coral Reef Reserve, Hainan, China. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 96: 88–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- McCook, L.J., T. Ayling, M. Cappo, J.H. Choat, R.D. Evans, D.M. De Freitas, M. Heupel, T.P. Hughes, et al. 2010. Adaptive management of the Great Barrier Reef: A globally significant demonstration of the benefits of networks of marine reserves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 18278–18285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Pauly, D. 1997. Small-scale fisheries in the tropics: marginality, marginalization, and some implications for fisheries management. In Global trends: fisheries management. American fisheries society symposium (Vol. 20, 40–49).Google Scholar
- Pauly, D., G. Silvestre, and I.R. Smith. 1989. On development, fisheries and dynamite, a brief review of tropical fisheries management. Natural Resource Mldeling 3: 307–329.Google Scholar
- R Core Team. 2014. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org/.
- Rogers, C. S., and J. Beets. 2002. Degradation of marine ecosystems and decline of fishery resources in marine protected areas in the US Virgin Islands. Environmental Conservation 28. Cambridge University Press: 312–322. doi: 10.1017/S0376892901000340.
- Van Herwerden, L., J. Howard Choat, S.J. Newman, M. Leray, and G. Hillersøy. 2009. Complex patterns of population structure and recruitment of Plectropomus leopardus (Pisces: Epinephelidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: Implications for fisheries management. Marine Biology 156: 1595–1607. doi: 10.1007/s00227-009-1195-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weeks, R., P.M. Aliño, S. Atkinson, P. Beldia, A. Binson, W.L. Campos, R. Djohani, A.L. Green, et al. 2014. Developing marine protected area networks in the coral triangle: Good practices for expanding the coral triangle marine protected area system. Coastal Management 42: 183–205. doi: 10.1080/08920753.2014.877768.CrossRefGoogle Scholar