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Giant Marine Reserves Pose Vast Challenges

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Christopher Pala

Huge no-fishing zones might save widely traveled tuna and other species, but monitoring their effectiveness—and enforcing catch bans—will require new approaches.

The trend [towards megareserves] delights conservation scientists who are worried about overexploitation of the world's oceans. The reserves "are a real game-changer," says fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada. Fishing fleets now have technology that allows them to penetrate even remote, deep waters that once "served as refuges for a lot of fish," he notes. "There's an urgent need to replace them with big, manmade protected areas."

The enforcement challenge could soon get bigger. Five more giant no-take reserves are now on the drawing boards, notes Jay Nelson, director of Pew's Global Ocean Legacy program, which has played a major role in promoting the idea. They include efforts to protect the United Kingdom's Pitcairn Islands and Bermuda, theKermadec Islands of New Zealand, and Chile's Easter Island. "The time to create large, well-protected marine reserves is before they're targeted by the industrial fishing fleets," Nelson says. "Ten years from now will be too late."

Read the full article, Giant Marine Reserves Pose Vast Challenges, on the Science website.


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