How useful is the ratio of fish density outside versus inside no-take marine reserves as a metric for fishery management control rules?

Elizabeth A Babcock, Alec D. Maccall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


A management strategy evaluation (based on five species in the California, USA, nearshore fishery) of control rules that reduce relative fishing effort as a function of the ratio of fish density outside versus inside no-take marine reserves (as a measure of depletion) showed that although the control rules allowed effort to increase at first, in the long term, they were effective at maintaining spawning stock biomass and yield for all simulated species, including depleted ones. Scenarios with fish movement, illegal fishing in the reserve, or post-dispersal density dependence in recruitment required higher density ratio targets, such as 60% of mature fish or 80% of all fish, to avoid stock depletion. The effort allowed by multispecies density-ratio control rules depended on the relative weight given to more or less depleted species. High variability in recruitment or in monitoring data caused the allowable effort to fluctuate. Density-ratio control rules have the advantages that they require no historical data, they can be used at local spatial scales, and they adjust to changing environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-359
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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