Marine Protected Areas 2019-02-16T08:13:59+00:00

( Image by Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas www.stuartcove.com )


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are important management tools. Of particular value are notake areas where removal of resources is prohibited. Within these areas, populations of fish and invertebrates are allowed to recover to the point where they replenish fished areas through the movement of adults and the export of larvae. Furthermore, increases in populations of key species allow natural processes responsible for maintaining ecosystem health to function and promote recovery of coral reefs and other ecosystems. As such, these areas are an important tool for managing and improving fisheries, as well as building reef resilience to various threats, including climate change.


What Perry Institute for Marine Science is Doing

To effectively manage existing MPAs and create new protected areas requires sound research to guide management decisions. Current science suggests that the inclusion of 20 – 30% of areas in highly protected MPAs, such as no-take areas, are needed to effectively manage fisheries and preserve ecosystem function in coral reef ecosystems to protect them from various human impacts, including climate change. The information gained from Perry Institute for Marine Science research is used to effectively design and manage MPAs. As part of this strategy, Perry Institute for Marine Science research focuses on identifying which areas should be included in The Bahamas’ expanded network, e.g. modeling of larval transport and genetic studies of key resources. It also involves working with partners and local communities to better understand the resources included in the protected areas and their value to local communities and the national economy.

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Why It Matters

A well-designed and effectively managed MPA can result in benefits to both local communities and the national economy. PIMS research can provide the science needed for NGOs and policy makers to make the necessary decisions so these benefits can be realized. Through our research, we can provide the science to guide the creation of MPAs, identifying where the key resources are and ensure their protection. Additionally, in the management of MPAs, we can determine if the MPAs are achieving their goals and make suggestions for their effective management.

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