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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 721483, 18 pages
Research Article

Modelling Reef Fish Population Responses to Fisheries Restrictions in Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle

1Fisheries Center, AERL, University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T1Z4, Canada
2College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA

Received 14 June 2011; Revised 18 October 2011; Accepted 8 November 2011

Academic Editor: Ricardo Serrão Santos

Copyright © 2012 Divya Varkey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Marine ecosystem models are used to investigate marine protected area (MPA) benefits for coral reef ecosystems located in Raja Ampat, in the heart of the Coral Triangle. Field data from an integrated and diverse research project is used to develop a spatial ecosystem model using Ecopath, Ecosim, and Ecospace modelling software. The ecological and fisheries responses of a reef ecosystem to different levels of fishing effort restrictions inside MPAs are explored. The trade-offs of allowing some fisheries to operate inside the MPAs versus designating the MPAs as no-take zones are highlighted. The results show that rapid rebuilding of reef fish populations, especially the large charismatic species, requires no-take areas. Distinct trade-offs in spillover benefits are observed between partially fished and no-take MPAs.