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26 lug 2013

Italian marine reserve effectiveness: Does enforcement matter?



Paolo Guidettia,*, Marco Milazzob, Simona Bussottia, Andrea Molinaric, Matteo Murenud, Antonio Paise, Nunziacarla Spanòf, Raffaella Balzanog, Tundi Agardyh, Ferdinando Boeroa, Giancarlo Carradai, Riccardo Cattaneo-Viettij, Angelo Caud, Renato Chemellob, Silvestro Grecoc, Antonio Manganarof, Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciarak, Giovanni Fulvio Russog, Leonardo Tunesic
a Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Via Provinciale Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
b Department of Ecology, University of Palermo, Via Archirafi 18, 90123 Palermo, Italy
c Central Institute for Research on the Marine Environment, Via Casalotti 300, 00166 Rome, Italy
d Department of Animal Biology and Ecology, University of Cagliari, Viale Poetto 1, 09126 Cagliari, Italy
e Department of Animal Sciences, University of Sassari, Via De Nicola 9, 07100 Sassari, Italy
f Department of Animal Biology and Marine Ecology, University of Messina, Salita Sperone 31, 98166 Messina, Italy
g Department of Sciences for the Environment, University of Naples ‘Parthenope’, Via A. De Gasperi 5, 80133 Naples, Italy
h Sound Seas, 6620 Broad Street, Bethesda, MD 20816, USA
i Department of Zoology, University of Naples ‘Federico II’, Corso Umberto I, 80138, Naples, Italy
j Department of the Study of the Territory and its Resources, University of Genoa, Corso Europa 26, 16132 Genoa, Italy
k Tethys Research Institute, Viale G.B. Gadio 2, 20121 Milan, Italy

A B S T R A C T
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have become popular tools worldwide for ecosystem conservation and fishery management. Fish assemblages can benefit from protection provided by
MPAs, especially those that include fully no-take reserves. Fish response to protection can thus be used to evaluate the effectiveness of marine reserves. Most target fish are highlevel
predators and their overfishing may affect entire communities through trophic cascades. In the Mediterranean rocky sublittoral, marine reserves may allow fish predators of sea urchins to recover and thus whole communities to be restored from coralline barrens to macroalgae. Such direct and indirect reserve effects, however, are likely to be related to the enforcement implemented. In Italy, many MPAs that include no-take reserves have been declared, but little effort has been spent to enforce them. This is a worldwide phenomenon (although more common in some regions than others) that may cause MPAs and reserves to fail to meet their targets. We found that 3 of 15 Italian marine reserves investigated had adequate enforcement, and that patterns of recovery of target fish were related to enforcement. No responses were detected when all reserves were analyzed as a whole, suggesting enforcement as an important factor to be considered in future studies particularly to avoid that positive ecological responses in properly managed reserves can be masked by neutral/negative results in paper parks. Positive responses were observed for large piscivores (e.g. dusky groupers) and sea urchin predators at reserves where enforcement was effective. Those reserves with low or null enforcement did not differ from fished areas.

Su BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION 141 (2008)


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