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Stable isotopes and trophic positions of littoral fishes from a Mediterranean marine protected area

Citation Information: Environmental Biology of Fishes Volume 84, Number 1 (2009), 13-25

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-008-9381-3

Authors: Salvatrice Vizzini and Antonio Mazzola

Abstract: Stable isotope analyses were employed to explore feeding and foraging habitats and trophic levels of littoral fishes in a western Mediterranean Marine Protected Area (Egadi Islands, Sicily, Italy). Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios were measured in primary producers, invertebrates and fishes collected in December 2001 and January 2002. Fishes of the littoral region of the Egadi Islands had isotopic signatures that fell into a wider range for δ 13C (about 6‰) than for δ 15N (about 3‰). Carbon isotope ratios were consistent with a food web based on mixed sources and two trophic pathways leading to different fish species. Differences in the isotopic composition between islands were higher for benthivorous than for planktivorous fishes. The overall picture gained from this study is of a isotopic distinction between planktivorous and benthivorous fishes, resource partitioning facilitating the coexistence of similar species within the same ecosystem, and spatial variability in the isotopic signatures and trophic level of fishes. Asymmetrical analysis of variance showed that estimated trophic levels were lower in the area with the highest level of protection (Zone A) for only two out of the nine fishes analysed. As a consequence, overall spatial differences do not seem to be a consequence of protection, since in most cases trophic levels did not change significantly between zone A and zones C where professional fishing (trawling apart) is permitted, but of natural sources of variation (e.g. variability in food availability and site-specific food preferences of fishes). However, the results of this study suggest a different response at the species compared to the community level.

Hindcasting and forecasting of climatology for Gilbert Bay, Labrador: A marine protected area

Citation Information: ProQuest Dissertations And Theses; Thesis (M.Sc.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), 2011.; Publication Number: AAT MR80786; ISBN: 9780494807866; Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 50-02, page: 0972.; 96 p.

Date: 2011

Authors: Best, Sara J.

Rapid Assessment of Risks to a Mobile Marine Mammal in an Ecosystem-Scale Marine Protected Area

Citation Information: Conservation biology; 2008 June, v. 22, no. 3

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00923.x

Authors: A. GRECH, H. MARSH

Abstract: Ecosystem-scale networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are important conservation tools, but their effectiveness is difficult to quantify in a time frame appropriate to species conservation because of uncertainties in the data available. The dugong (Dugong dugon) is a mobile marine species that occurs in shallow inshore waters of an ecosystem-scale network of MPAs (the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area [GBRWHA]). We developed a rapid approach to assess risk to dugongs in the region and evaluate options to ameliorate that risk. We used expert opinion and a Delphi technique to identify and rank 5 human factors with the potential to adversely affect dugongs and their sea grass habitats: netting, indigenous hunting, trawling, vessel traffic, and poor-quality terrestrial runoff. We then quantified and compared the distribution of these factors with a spatially explicit model of dugong distribution. We estimated that approximately 96% of habitat of high conservation value for dugongs in the GBRWHA is at low risk from human activities. Using a sensitivity analysis, we found that to decrease risk, commercial netting or indigenous hunting had to be reduced in remote areas and the effects of vessel traffic, terrestrial runoff, and commercial netting had to be reduced in urban areas. This approach enabled us to compare and rank risks so as to identify the most severe risks and locate specific sites that require further management attention.

Is capacity building important in policy development for sustainability? A case study using action plans for sustainable marine protected areas in Belize

Citation Information: Society & natural resources; 2010 Feb., v. 23, no. 2

DOI: 10.1080/08941920802409593

Authors: M. James C. Crabbea, Edwin Martinezb, Christina Garciac, Juan Chubd, Leonardo Castroe & Jason Guyf

Abstract: We undertook a capacity-building exercise around marine protected areas (MPAs) that involved both local nongovernmental organization (NGO) community workers and a government fisheries officer, so that community engagement could be directly interfaced with fisheries operations and policy. Targeting a government worker is a relatively new approach. Our methodology used a modified nominal group technique and Delphi technique to develop personal action plans to facilitate the future of sustainable MPAs in the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef system. The involvement of a fisheries officer resulted in direct transfer of information from the communities to the government department. The personal action plans involve improvements to organization and management, education, support, and policy development. In addition, three NGOs, TASTE (Toledo Association for Sustainable Tourism and Empowerment), TIDE (Toledo Institute for Development and Environment), and Friends of Nature, have been incorporated into a single self-governing organization that spans four MPAs in southern Belize. This is a significant advance, allowing areas that were subject to illegal fishing to be monitored and policed.

Methods for managing Marine Protected Areas: Options for establishing and managing a marine protected area system in the UK

Citation Information: Report for Natural England in fulfilment of contract MAR09-02-004

Date: 8 December 2006

Authors: Tim Stevens, Peter Jones, Kerry Howell, and Laurence Mee

Institutions: The Marine Institute at University of Plymouth; University College London

Summary: This document presents a review of the available literature concerning management arrangements for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the UK, Europe, and around the world with the object of providing guidance for future management of MPAs, especially European Marine Sites (EMSs), in the UK. This is partly to support the development of effective legislation for UK MPAs through the Marine Bill process, but more broadly to assist UK marine nature conservation and resource management agencies to manage their sites more effectively and to meet the agreed OSPAR goals for a network of well managed marine protected areas to be in place over the next several years. The report follows on from the directions provided in the UK government’s “Maritime State of Nature Report” (Covey and Laffoley 2002) particularly: areas free of exploitation, new or revised legislation and ecologically meaningful management (ibid page 8).

Effectiveness of marine protected areas in the Philippines for biodiversity conservation

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2010 Apr;24(2):531-40. Epub 2009 Oct 16

Authors: Weeks R, Russ GR, Alcala AC, White AT.

Abstract: Quantifying the extent to which existing reserves meet conservation objectives and identifying gaps in coverage are vital to developing systematic protected-area networks. Despite widespread recognition of the Philippines as a global priority for marine conservation, limited work has been undertaken to evaluate the conservation effectiveness of existing marine protected areas (MPAs). Targets for MPA coverage in the Philippines have been specified in the 1998 Fisheries Code legislation, which calls for 15% of coastal municipal waters (within 15 km of the coastline) to be protected within no-take MPAs, and the Philippine Marine Sanctuary Strategy (2004), which aims to protect 10% of coral reef area in no-take MPAs by 2020. We used a newly compiled database of nearly 1000 MPAs to measure progress toward these targets. We evaluated conservation effectiveness of MPAs in two ways. First, we determined the degree to which marine bioregions and conservation priority areas are represented within existing MPAs. Second, we assessed the size and spacing patterns of reserves in terms of best-practice recommendations. We found that the current extent and distribution of MPAs does not adequately represent biodiversity. At present just 0.5% of municipal waters and 2.7-3.4% of coral reef area in the Philippines are protected in no-take MPAs. Moreover, 85% of no-take area is in just two sites; 90% of MPAs are <1 km(2). Nevertheless, distances between existing MPAs should ensure larval connectivity between them, providing opportunities to develop regional-scale MPA networks. Despite the considerable success of community-based approaches to MPA implementation in the Philippines, this strategy will not be sufficient to meet conservation targets, even under a best-case scenario for future MPA establishment. We recommend that implementation of community-based MPAs be supplemented by designation of additional large no-take areas specifically located to address conservation targets.

Monitoring Hawaii's marine protected areas: examining spatial and temporal trends using a seascape approach

Citation Information: Silver Spring, MD : U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, 2010

Authors: Friedlander, Alan M. (Alan Marc); Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment (U.S.). Biogeography Branch; United States. National Ocean Service.

Summary: Hawaii’s coastal marine resources have declined dramatically over the past 100 years due to multiple anthropogenic stressors including overfishing, coastal development, pollution, overuse, invasive species and climate change. It is now becoming evident that ecosystem-based management, in the form of marine protected areas (MPAs), is necessary to conserve biodiversity, maintain viable fisheries, and deliver a broad suite of ecosystem services. Over the past four decades, Hawaii has developed a system of MPAs to conserve and replenish marine resources around the state. These Marine Life Conservation Districts (MLCDs) vary in size, habitat quality, and management regimes, providing an excellent opportunity to test hypotheses concerning MPA design and function using multiple discreet sampling units.

Striking a Balance between Biodiversity Conservation and Socioeconomic Viability in the Design of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2008 Jun;22(3):691-700. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Authors: Klein CJ, Chan A, Kircher L, Cundiff AJ, Gardner N, Hrovat Y, Scholz A, Kendall BE, Airamé S.

Abstract: The establishment of marine protected areas is often viewed as a conflict between conservation and fishing. We considered consumptive and nonconsumptive interests of multiple stakeholders (i.e., fishers, scuba divers, conservationists, managers, scientists) in the systematic design of a network of marine protected areas along California's central coast in the context of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. With advice from managers, administrators, and scientists, a representative group of stakeholders defined biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic goals that accommodated social needs and conserved marine ecosystems, consistent with legal requirements. To satisfy biodiversity goals, we targeted 11 marine habitats across 5 depth zones, areas of high species diversity, and areas containing species of special status. We minimized adverse socioeconomic impacts by minimizing negative effects on fishers. We included fine-scale fishing data from the recreational and commercial fishing sectors across 24 fisheries. Protected areas designed with consideration of commercial and recreational fisheries reduced potential impact to the fisheries approximately 21% more than protected areas designed without consideration of fishing effort and resulted in a small increase in the total area protected (approximately 3.4%). We incorporated confidential fishing data without revealing the identity of specific fisheries or individual fishing grounds. We sited a portion of the protected areas near land parks, marine laboratories, and scientific monitoring sites to address nonconsumptive socioeconomic goals. Our results show that a stakeholder-driven design process can use systematic conservation-planning methods to successfully produce options for network design that satisfy multiple conservation and socioeconomic objectives. Marine protected areas that incorporate multiple stakeholder interests without compromising biodiversity conservation goals are more likely to protect marine ecosystems.

Protection of Genetic Diversity and Maintenance of Connectivity among Reef Corals within Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: 2008 Oct., v. 22, no. 5

Authors: MILLER, KAREN J.; AYRE, DAVID J.

Abstract: High-latitude coral reefs (HLRs) are potentially vulnerable marine ecosystems facing well-documented threats to tropical reefs and exposure to suboptimal temperatures and insolation. In addition, because of their geographic isolation, HLRs may have poor or erratic larval connections to tropical reefs and a reduced genetic diversity and capacity to respond to environmental change. On Australia's east coast, a system of marine protected areas (MPAs) has been established with the aim of conserving HLRs in part by providing sources of colonizing larvae. To examine the effectiveness of existing MPAs as networks for dispersal, we compared genetic diversity within and among the HLRs in MPAs and between these HLRs and tropical reefs on the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The 2 coral species best represented on Australian HLRs (the brooding Pocillopora damicornis and the broadcast-spawning Goniastrea australensis) exhibited sharply contrasting patterns of diversity and connectedness. For P. damicornis, the 8-locus genetic and genotypic diversity declined dramatically with increasing latitude (Na= 3.6-1.2, He= 0.3-0.03, Ng:N = 0.87-0.06), although population structure was consistent with recruitment derived largely from sexual reproduction (Go:Ge= 1.28-0.55). Genetic differentiation was high among the HLRs (FST[SD]= 0.32 [0.08], p < 0.05) and between the GBR and the HLRs (FST= 0.24 [0.06], p < 0.05), which indicates these temperate populations are effectively closed. In contrast for G. australensis, 9-locus genetic diversity was more consistent across reefs (Na= 4.2-3.9, He= 0.3-0.26, Ng:N = 1-0.61), and there was no differentiation among regions (FST= 0.00 [0.004], p > 0.05), which implies the HLRs and the southern GBR are strongly interconnected. Our results demonstrate that although the current MPAs appear to capture most of the genetic diversity present within the HLR systems for these 2 species, their sharply contrasting patterns of connectivity indicate some taxa,...

Spatial patterns and movements of red king and Tanner crabs: implications for the design of marine protected areas

Citation Information: 2008; Marine Ecology Progress Series; Volume 365; p. 151-163.

Authors: S. James Taggart, Jennifer Mondragon, Alexander G. Andrews, Julie K. Nielsen

Abstract: Most examples of positive population responses to marine protected areas (MPAs) have been documented for tropical reef species with very small home ranges; the utility of MPAs for commercially harvested temperate species that have large movement patterns remains poorly tested. We measured the distribution and abundance of red king Paralithodes camtschaticus and Tanner Chionoecetes bairdi crabs inside and outside of MPAs in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, USA. By tagging a sub-sample of crabs with sonic tags, we estimated the movement of adult crabs from one of the MPAs (Muir Inlet) into the central portion of Glacier Bay where fishing still occurs. Tanner crabs and red king crabs moved similar average distances per day, although Tanner crabs had a higher transfer out of the Muir Inlet MPA into the central bay. Tanner crab movements were characterized by large variation among individual crabs, both in distance and direction traveled, while red king crabs migrated seasonally between 2 specific areas. Although Tanner crabs exhibited relatively large movements, distribution and abundance data suggest that they may be restricted at large spatial scales by habitat barriers. MPAs that are effective at protecting king and especially Tanner crab brood stock from fishing mortality will likely need to be larger than is typical of MPAs worldwide. However, by incorporating information on the seasonal movements of red king crabs and the location of habitat barriers for Tanner crabs, MPAs could likely be designed that would effectively protect adults from fishing mortality.

Coral Bleaching and Marine Protected Areas: Proceedings of the workshop on mitigating coral bleaching impact through MPA design

Date: September 2001

Description: The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have launched a joint initiative to mitigate the impacts of coral bleaching through the design of marine protected areas (MPAs). EPA's Global Change Research Program is contributing to this effort through the work of Dr. Jordan West. We are pleased to announce the publication of an initial workshop report entitled, "Coral Bleaching and Marine Protected Areas: Proceedings of the Workshop on Mitigating Coral Bleaching Impact Through MPA Design."

Comanagement practices enhance fisheries in marine protected areas

Citation Information: Conserv Biol. 2010 Feb;24(1):312-8. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

Authors: Guidetti P, Claudet J.

Abstract: Fishing activities worldwide have dramatically affected marine fish stocks and ecosystems. Marine protected areas (MPAs) with no-take zones may enhance fisheries, but empirical evidence of this is scant. We conducted a 4-year survey of fish catches around and within an MPA that was previously fully closed to fishing and then partially reopened under regulated comanaged fishing. In collaboration with the fishers and the MPA authority, we set the fishing effort and selected the gear to limit fishing impact on key fish predators, juvenile fish stage, and benthic communities and habitats. Within an adaptive comanagement framework, fishers agreed to reduce fishing effort if symptoms of overfishing were detected. We analyzed the temporal trends of catch per unit of effort (CPUE) of the whole species assemblages and CPUE of the four most valuable and frequent species observed inside the opened buffer zone and outside the MPA investigated. After the comanaged opening, CPUE first declined and then stabilized at levels more than twice that of catches obtained outside the MPA. Our results suggest that working closely with fishers can result in greater fisheries catches. Partial protection of coastal areas together with adaptive comanagement involving fishers, scientists, and managers can effectively achieve conservation and fishery management goals and benefit fishing communities and alleviate overfishing.

Placing marine protected areas onto the ecosystem-based management seascape

Citation Information: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 26;107(43):18312-7. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Authors: Halpern BS, Lester SE, McLeod KL.

Abstract: The rapid increase in the science and implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world in the past 15 years is now being followed by similar increases in the science and application of marine ecosystem-based management (EBM). Despite important overlaps and some common goals, these two approaches have remained either separated in the literature and in conservation and management efforts or treated as if they are one and the same. In the cases when connections are acknowledged, there is often little assessment of if or how well MPAs can achieve specific EBM goals. Here we start by critically evaluating commonalities and differences between MPAs and EBM. Next, we use global analyses to show where and how much no-take marine reserves can be expected to contribute to EBM goals, specifically by reducing the cumulative impacts of stressors on ocean ecosystems. These analyses revealed large stretches of coastal oceans where reserves can play a major role in reducing cumulative impacts and thus improving overall ocean condition, at the same time highlighting the limitations of marine reserves as a single tool to achieve comprehensive EBM. Ultimately, better synergies between these two burgeoning approaches provide opportunities to greatly benefit ocean health.

Dynamic marine protected areas can improve the resilience of coral reef systems

Citation Information: Ecology letters; 2009 Dec., v. 12, no. 12

Authors: Edward T. Game; Michael Bode; Eve McDonald-Madden; Hedley S. Grantham; Hugh P. Possingham

Abstract: Marine Protected Areas are usually static, permanently closed areas. There are, however, both social and ecological reasons to adopt dynamic closures, where reserves move through time. Using a general theoretical framework, we investigate whether dynamic closures can improve the mean biomass of herbivorous fishes on reef systems, thereby enhancing resilience to undesirable phase-shifts. At current levels of reservation (10-30%), moving protection between all reefs in a system is unlikely to improve herbivore biomass, but can lead to a more even distribution of biomass. However, if protected areas are rotated among an appropriate subset of the entire reef system (e.g. rotating 10 protected areas between only 20 reefs in a 100 reef system), dynamic closures always lead to increased mean herbivore biomass. The management strategy that will achieve the highest mean herbivore biomass depends on both the trajectories and rates of population recovery and decline. Given the current large-scale threats to coral reefs, the ability of dynamic marine protected areas to achieve conservation goals deserves more attention.

A Property Rights Approach to Understanding Human Displacement from Protected Areas: the Case of Marine Protected Areas

Citation Information: Conservation biology; 2009 Feb., v. 23, no. 1

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.01050.x

Authors: MICHAEL B. MASCIA, C. ANNE CLAUS

Abstract: The physical, economic, and sociocultural displacement of local peoples from protected areas generates intense discussion among scholars and policy makers. To foster greater precision and clarity in these discussions, we used a conceptual framework from the political economy literature to examine different forms of human displacement from protected areas. Using marine protected areas (MPAs) to ground our analysis, we characterized the 5 types of property rights that are reallocated (lost, secured, and gained) through the establishment of protected areas. All forms of MPA "displacement" involve reallocation of property rights, but the specific types and bundles of rights lost, secured, and gained dramatically shape the magnitude, extent, and equity of MPA impacts--positive and negative--on governance, economic well-being, health, education, social capital, and culture. The impacts of reallocating rights to MPA resources vary within and among social groups, inducing changes in society, in patterns of resource use, and in the environment. To create more environmentally sustainable and socially just conservation practice, a critical next step in conservation social science research is to document and explain variation in the social impacts of protected areas.

Interannual variability of physical oceanographic characteristics of Gilbert Bay: A marine protected area in Labrador, Canada

Citation Information: Journal of Marine Systems, v. 88, iss. 1, p. 128-138, October 2011

Authors: Best, Sara; Lundrigan, Sarah; Demirov, Entcho; Wroblewski, Joe

Abstract: Gilbert Bay on the southeast coast of Labrador is the site of the first MarineProtectedArea (MPA) established in the subarctic coastal zone of eastern Canada. The MPA was created to conserve a genetically distinctive population of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. This article presents results from a study of the interannualvariability in atmospheric and physicaloceanographiccharacteristics of Gilbert Bay over the period 1949–2006. We describe seasonal and interannualvariability of the atmospheric parameters at the sea surface in the bay. The interannualvariability of the atmosphere in the Gilbert Bay region is related to the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and a recent warming trend in the local climate of coastal Labrador. The related changes in seawater temperature, salinity and sea-ice thickness in winter are simulated with a one-dimensional water column model, the General Ocean Turbulence Model (GOTM). A warming Gilbert Bay ecosystem would be favorable for cod growth, but reduced sea-ice formation during the winter months increases the danger of traveling across the bay by snowmobile.

Challenges in developing China’s marine protected area system

Citation Information: Marine Policy 33(4): 599-605.doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2008.12.005. 

Date: 2009

Authors: Qiu W, Wang B, Jones PJS and Axmacher JC

Abstract: Since the 1980s, there have been continuous increases in the coverage of marineprotected areas (MPAs) in China, and a total of 158 MPAs have been declared. The MPA systemin China is characterized by (1) decentralised designation and management with reduced controlfrom the central government; (2) a dominance of de jure fully protected MPAs that are oftenimplemented as de facto multiple-use areas; and (3) a lack of objective evaluation processes. Toimprove China’s MPA system requires an appropriate integration of fully protected andmultiple-use MPAs, and an approach that balances the advantages of top-down and bottom-upapproaches.

Marine protected areas for whales, dolphins, and porpoises: a world handbook for cetacean habitat conservation

Author: Hoyt, Erich.

Published: London ; Sterling, VA : Earthscan, 2005.

Description: 492 p.

Summary: Worldwide in coverage, the book reveals the inside story on existing and planned marine protected areas (MPAs), marine reserves, national parks and sanctuaries for whales and dolphins in national waters and on the high seas of the world. Follow ground-breaking efforts to protect the ocean with fin and sperm whales in the Mediterranean to the coldest part of the Antarctic, the marine wilderness of the Ross Sea, with minke and three kinds of killer whales. This story of pioneer conservation efforts in the marine realm is designed to be a key resource for scientists, research institutions, students, wildlife conservation agencies, MPA managers, and anyone who cares about whales and dolphins, and the special places where they live. Since most of the world's MPAs promote whale and dolphin watching and responsible marine ecotourism, the book is also being used by keen cetacean watchers to find some of the best places to watch the 87 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises in 125 countries and territories around the world.

Executive Order 13158: Marine Protected Areas

EXECUTIVE ORDER EO 13158

Effective Date: May 26, 2000

Responsible Office: Office of Management Systems

Subject: Marine Protected Areas

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America and in furtherance of the purposes of the National Marine Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-ee), National Park Service Organic Act (16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.) National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.) Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et. seq.), Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1451 et. seq.), Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.), Marine Mammal Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 1362 et seq.) Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 U.S.C. 1251 et. seq.) National Environmental Policy Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et. seq.), Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (42 U.S.C. 1331 et. seq.) and other pertinent statutes, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. This Executive Order will help protect the significant natural and cultural resources within the marine environment for the benefit of present and future generations by strengthening and expanding the Nation's system of marine protected areas (MPAs). An expanded and strengthened comprehensive system of marine protected areas throughout the marine environment would enhance the conservation of our Nation's natural and cultural marine heritage and the ecologically and economically sustainable use of the marine environment for future generations. To this end, the purpose of this order is to, consistent with domestic and international law:

(a) strengthen the management, protection, and conservation of existing marine protected areas and establish new or expanded MPA; (b) develop a scientifically based, comprehensive national system of MPAs representing diverse U.S. marine ecosystem, and the Nation's natural cultural resources; and (c) avoid causing harm to MPAs through federally conducted, approved, or funded activities.

Sec. 2. Definitions. For the purpose of this order: (a) "Marine protected area" means any area of the marine environment that has been reserved by Federal, State, territorial, tribal, or local laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part or all of the natural and cultural resources therein.

Genetic considerations on the introduction of farmed fish in marine protected areas: The case of study of white seabream restocking in the Gulf of Castellammare (Southern Tyrrhenian Sea)

Citation Information: Journal of Sea Research, Volume 68, p. 41-48; 02/2012

DOI: 10.1016/j.seares.2011.12.005

Authors: González-Wangüemert, Mercedes; Fernández, Tomás Vega; Pérez-Ruzafa, Angel; Giacalone, Maximiliano; D'Anna, Giovanni; Badalamenti, Fabio

Abstract: Human exploitation has drastically reduced the abundance and distribution of several marine fish and invertebrate populations through overfishing and habitat destruction. Restocking can potentially mitigate these impacts and help to reconstitute depleted stocks but genetic repercussions must be considered. In the present study, the degree of genetic similarity between white seabream (Diplodus sargus Linnaeus 1758) individuals reared for restocking purposes and the receiving population in the Gulf of Castellammare fishery reserve (Sicily, Italy) was assessed using microsatellites. We also inferred the spatial pattern of the genetic structure of D. sargus and connectivity along Sicilian coasts. The farmed population showed significant heterozygosity deficiency in 6 loci and an important reduction in the number of alleles, which could indicate an incipient inbreeding. Both the farmed population and the target one for restocking (Castellammare fishery reserve), showed high and significant values of genetic differentiation due to different allele frequencies, number of privative alleles and total number of alleles. These findings indicate a low degree of genetic similarity between both populations, therefore this restocking initiative is not advisable. The genetic connectivity pattern, highly consistent with oceanographic currents, identified two distinct metapopulations of white seabream around Sicily. Thus it is recommended to utilize broods from the same metapopulation for restocking purposes to provide a better genetic match to the wild populations.

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