Marine Reserves as Conservation and Management Tools: Implications for Coastal Resource Use
Exploited marine ecosystems are a common feature of the modern world and area closures (marine reserves; MRs) have been suggested from both conservation and fishery management perspectives as a technique to rebuild over-fished populations. MRs provide an interesting experimental treatment where humans are excluded from resource harvesting. In the absence of exploitation, marine species have been observed to return to levels of abundance similar to historic accounts of virgin biomass (biomass under an exploitation level of 0). This thesis investigates the impact and potential of MRs in both New Zealand and Chile for achieving conservation and fishery management goals through the use of underwater observation, historic information, fishers’ ecological knowledge (FEK), bioeconomic fishery modeling and ecosystem modeling ... Overall, this thesis has investigated the effects of human coastal resource use in New Zealand and Chile from social, economic and ecological perspectives through the use of different techniques by synthesising both quantitative and qualitative information sources. MRs are a valuable tool from conservation, management and scientific perspectives as they can rebuild overexploited stocks and return the ecosystem to a more historic state. MRs also provide an understanding of the interaction between coastal resource use and ecosystem-wide changes, which is a crucial element for ecosystem-based management. This thesis has illustrated the importance of comparing present stock biomasses to historic baselines to understand the impacts of exploitation of coastal resources on marine ecosystems.