Big-eyed jacks found inside the no-take fish sanctuary of the Apo Island Marine reserve.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates that the establishment of large-scale networks of marine reserves, urgently needed to protect marine species and their habitats, could be key to reversing global fisheries decline.

Marine reserves can benefit adjacent fisheries from both the 'spillover' of adult and juvenile fish beyond the reserve boundaries and through the export of eggs and larvae. Inside the reserves, populations increase in size and individuals live longer, grow larger and develop increased reproductive potential.

Marine reserves could even benefit highly migratory species, such as sharks, tuna and billfish, if reserves were created in places where they are currently highly vulnerable, such as nursery grounds, spawning sites or aggregation sites such as seamounts.

Large-scale marine reserves are areas that are closed to all extractive uses, such as fishing and mining, as well as disposal activities. Within these areas there may be core zones where no human activities are allowed, for instance areas that act as scientific reference areas or areas where there are particularly sensitive habitats or species.

Some areas within the coastal zone may be opened to small-scale, non-destructive fisheries providing that these are sustainable, within ecological limits, and have been decided upon with the full participation of affected local communities.

Marine Reserves (MRs) are not just about overfishing -even if one of the primary reasons for creating MRs is preserving fish stocks. They are increasingly seen as an essential global tool to protect the marine environment, including from pollution -caused particularly by the disposal of wastes (radioactive wastes, munitions and carbon dioxide).

                     

 The Apo Island Marine Reserve is a very good example of how marine reserves can benefit communities. clcik on the arrows to see more of the Apo Island Marine Reserve.

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