Cautionary fish tale from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef marine reserve

All told, vessels have been catching 39% less seafood—roughly 4500 metric tons—in the Great Barrier Reef than before the closure, Fletcher and colleagues report in a paper published online ahead of print in Ecological Applications. (There was no change in the areas to the north and south.) Annual revenue fell by AU$58 million, rather than the predicted AU$13 million loss. Although some studies have shown that fish populations increased inside the reserves, the fishing outside hasn’t seen a benefit—even 9 years later. Read the rest here 11:45

  • exasperated77

    “The declines [the researchers] find are huge,” says Martin Smith, an
    economist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, who was not
    involved in the study. For the Great Barrier Reef, he says: “The real
    benefit of marine reserves is not the fishery, but the broader
    Shifting the goal posts. They assured fishermen it would mean more fish but now its “Oh well, screw them we’ll invent a new reason”