Marine Reserves in New Zealand

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Marine Reserves are areas of the sea and foreshore that are protected against fishing or development to increase the biodiversity of the area and also to conserve endangered species <ref>http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/marine-and-coastal/marine-protected-areas/marine-reserve-information/</ref>. Marine reserves are seen as a beneficial management tool in achieving broad fishery and biodiversity goals which thereby increase the long term sustainability of coastal fisheries <ref> Rowley, R.J. (1994) Marine Reserves in fisheries management. Aquatic Conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems.4: 233-254 </ref>. In the 1970’s it was realized that the current fishing and development pressures in New Zealand were not sustainable, therefore in 1971 the Marine Reserves Act was developed which had effect to preserve and protect marine reserves as much as possible in their natural state, and also to ensure the value of the natural habitat of marine life was maintained <ref> Parliamentary Counsel Office (1971) online: Marine Reserves Act 1971 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1971/0015/latest/DLM398102.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_marine+reserves+act+1971_resel_25_a&p=1 (accessed 18th of September 2013) </ref>.
Figure 1: Marine Reserves around New Zealand

In 1977 New Zealands first marine reserve was established, this was one of the worlds first no take reserves <ref> Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 25th of September 2013) </ref>. As of August 2011 there are now 34 no take marine reserves that have been established in total, this accounts for 0.3% of New Zealands total marine environment or just 7% of New Zealands coastal waters <ref> Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 25th of September 2013) </ref>. New Zealands largest reserves are located on the Auckland and Kermadec Islands and these account for 97% of New Zealands protected sea-area <ref> Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 25th of September 2013) </ref>. In contrast the extent of the coastal mainland marine reserves are very small, and some key habitats and ecosystems remain unprotected <ref> Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 25th of September 2013) </ref>.


Contents

Significance

In the past there have been historical collapses in fish population and ecosystems. These collapses caused environmental managers to look at how these systems were managed and protected. It was found that there needed to be a re-evaluation of how to manage these systems, in response marine reserves were developed <ref> Halpern, B.S. and Warner, R.R. (2002) Marine reserves have rapid lasting effects. Ecology Letters (5): 361-366. </ref>. Organisms within marine areas are limited by a multitude of different factors, but the one under the most human control is over fishing. The effects of fishing are seen not only on the target species but on the whole ecosystem <ref> Agardy, M.T. (1994) Advances in marine conservation: the role of marine protected areas. Elsevier Science (9)7: 267- . 270. </ref>. Marine reserves allow areas to be banned from fishing therefore helping improve the health of marine ecosystem <ref> Cole, R.G., Ayling, T.M. and Greese, R.G. (1990) Effects of marine reserve protection at Goat Island. New Zealand Journal of marine and freshwater research (24): 197-210. </ref>. Marine reserves are areas of a marine environment that is placed under the protection of the marine reserves act (1971). Within a marine reserve there is a ban put on all fishing practices as to help preserve the bio-diversity <ref>Forest and Bird. Definition: Marine Protected Area. http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/definition-marine-protected-area</ref>.

Significance of New Zealand Marine Reserves

The limitation of knowledge was one of the driving factors to create marine reserves as marine reserves provide a location to undergo scientific studies. Reserves provide areas of marine environments that are less impacted from degradation such as over fishing and other related human actions <ref>forest and bird (2011) Marine Reserves FAQ. http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq</ref>. These areas allow marine systems to function free of fishing and direct pollution. This removal of human interference allows the ecosystems to be studied and understood.

Why are Marine Reserves important

This protection of ecosystems is important around the coast of New Zealand as these areas provide such a range of bio-diversity. This bio-diversity is important not only in a biological sense but also in a social and economic sense. Marine reserves provide areas of ecosystems that flourish and create common areas for recreation such as diving <ref>Cole, R.G., Ayling, T.M. and Creese (1990) Effects of marine reserve at Goat Island, Northern New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research (24): 197-210</ref>. Goat Island is a good example of this and is visited by up to 300,000 people a year and is well known for its diving opportunities <ref>Department of Conservation. Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island). http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/auckland/north-auckland/cape-rodney-okakari-point-marine-reserve-goat-island</ref>. Locations such as Goat Island allow public access and and increased awareness about marine systems and their importance. Not only do marine reserves provide preservation of ecosystems for aesthetic values it also provides areas for fisheries stocks to redevelop.

New Zealand Governments legislation

The government goal was to have 10% of the total area of New Zealands marine area protected under a management scheme of marine protected areas. The government signed onto this goal with the united nations convention on marine biodiversity. From a number of scientists overseas it is well known that to fully protect a marine system and fully manage fish stocks, at least 20% of marine systems need to be put under protection. Currently in New Zealand only 0.3% of the marine reserves are actually protected <ref>forest and bird (2011) Marine Reserves FAQ. http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq</ref>.

The marine reserves act 1971 was implemented to help support New Zealands biodiversity strategy. The bill was signed to also meet the standards of the goals of the united nations convention on marine biodiversity <ref>Department of Conservation (2002) Marine Reserves Bill. http://www.doc.govt.nz/publications/about-doc/role/legislation/marine-reserves-bill/</ref>. In short the act requires any area of a marine environment that is under protection to be maintained in its natural state while also ensuring the public have the right of entry <ref>Marine Reserves Act (1979) New Zealand Legislation. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1971/0015/latest/DLM398417.html</ref>. The act also took into consideration the Treaty of Waitangi to recognize the crowns goal in relation to the treaty <ref> Tapui Taimoana. Reviewing the Marine Reserves Act 1971. http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/conservation/marine-and-coastal/marine-protected-areas/tapui-taimoana-(reviewing-the-marine-reserves-act-1971)-summary-of-submissions.pdf</ref>.

The marine reserves bill was produced in 2002 to help support New Zealands biodiversity strategy and the first goal was to review the marine reserves act of 1971. the key features of the act are: public enjoyment of marine reserves, principles of the treaty, appropriate descison making to help streamline the application process, public involvement, production of marine reserves in the exclusive economic zone and to reiterate that there is no fishing within marine reserves <ref>Marine Reserve Bill (2002) An explanatory note. http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/about-doc/role/legislation/marine-reserves-bill.pdf</ref>.

Past, existing and missing indicators

Historical Environmental Indicators

Many environmental indicators are used to provide information on the state of New Zealand’s marine environment. One of the measures in place to protect the marine environment is through marine reserves. There are many other forms of protection that the Government may use to protect the marine environment, such as marine parks and marine protected areas, however, marine reserves provide a higher level of protection <ref> Department of Conservation. (unknown) online. Marine reserves and other Protected" http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/marine-and-coastal/marine-protected-areas/marine-parks/. Accessed on 17/09/2013</ref>. Through legal protection, the Ministry for the Environment is able to protect marine reserves from dredging, fishing, removal of material, construction and any other human related disturbance. <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2008) online. "Marine Areas with Legal Protection." http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html. Accessed on 17/09/2013</ref>. The Ministry for the Environment has achieved this through the Marine Reserves Act 1971. This Act came into force because the Government realised that the marine environment was not sustainable and that applied management was going to be needed in order to sustain these resources for the future. Environmental indicators are used to monitor and report on changes in the physical and chemical aspects of the marine environment <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2001) online. http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/marine-indicators-jun01.pdf. Accessed on 18/09/2013 </ref>.

There are two main types of environmental indicators <ref>Desrosiers, C., Leflaive, J., Eulin, A. and Ten-Hage, L. (2013) Bioindicators in marine waters, Benthic diatoms as a tool to assess water quality from eutrophic to oligotrophic coastal ecosystems. Ecological Indicators. Vol. 32. pp. 25-34.</ref>. The first are multimetric, these portray quantitative information that can be understood by the community. These are based on species richness, abundance, and biomass. Multimetric indicators can prove to be problematic because you have to have a base reference to compare the values to so that it is clear how much the current values deviate from the reference values. Reference values can be hard to come across because each ecosystem is significantly different in relation to the level of disturbance, the quality of the habitat, resources available for marine life, and the variety of species that are present. A source of reference for indicators can be guidelines set by the Ministry for the Environment, although since the marine environment is not well researched in comparison to terrestrial systems, references may not exist. The second type of environmental indicator is the functional type, which focus on the species composition <ref>Desrosiers, C., Leflaive, J., Eulin, A. and Ten-Hage, L. (2013) Bioindicators in marine waters, Benthic diatoms as a tool to assess water quality from eutrophic to oligotrophic coastal ecosystems. Ecological Indicators. Vol. 32. pp. 25-34.</ref>. Functional indicators focus on the factors such as how sensitive or tolerant the species is to physical or chemical disturbances and whether they are r or K strategists.

Figure 2: Some Tohu for marine reserves (Maori Indicators)
Maori have not always supported marine reserves because by protecting marine life it effects their ability to collect kaimoana/seafood and ability to access their mana ki te moana/ancestral waters and traditional fishing grounds <ref>Wilson, C., Freeman, D., Hogan, K. and Thompson, K. (2007) Maori methods and indicators for marine protection. Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment </ref>. However, in recent years Maori, such as Nga Tahu have become more engaged in the protection and management of marine reserves. Tohu are signs and predictions that are used as indicators to monitor the changes in the health of the marine environment <ref>Wilson, C., Freeman, D., Hogan, K. and Thompson, K. (2007) Maori methods and indicators for marine protection. Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment </ref>. Maori indicated two types of primary tohu, which include species focused tohu, and process focused tohu. For species focused tohu, indicators include the availability of kaimoana to provide for customary needs, the accessibility of kaimoana to be harvested in season, the abundance so that there is sufficient quantities of kaimoana available to fulfill customary needs, and the quality (size, colour, smell and taste) <ref>Wilson, C., Freeman, D., Hogan, K. and Thompson, K. (2007) Maori methods and indicators for marine protection. Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment </ref>. Process focused tohu concentrate more on the condition and presence of the processes within a marine reserve. They include species diversity, land-based signs of harvest (e.g. kowhai bloom), successful harvesting with the moon phases, and the responses between prey and predators <ref>Wilson, C., Freeman, D., Hogan, K. and Thompson, K. (2007) Maori methods and indicators for marine protection. Department of Conservation, Ministry for the Environment </ref>. The final list of tohu forms the kete tohu and is shown in figure 2. These indicators focus on Maori customary rights and the role of these within the community. In comparison to indicators set out by the Government and the Department of Conservation, these indicators are specific to what is important to Maori and play an important role in both the native biodiversity and Maori heritage.

Existing Environmental Indicators for the Marine Environment

Table 1: Environmental Indicators for the marine environment established by the Ministry for the Environment
In 2001, the Ministry for the Environment specified six indicators that were to be used as physical and chemical indicators for the marine environment. There are two that specifically apply to marine reserves and these are shown in table 1. The first environmental indicator is ME1, which is the changes in catchment land-use in near-areas susceptible to sedimentation <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2001) online. http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/ser/marine-indicators-jun01.pdf. Accesses on the 18/09/2013 </ref>. This indicator was chosen because a change in land-use can have detrimental effects on the marine environment. For example, a change in land-use from sheep to intense dairy farming can result in an increase in chemicals being washed into the ocean. Chemicals can include nitrogen and phosphorus, which are added to the land to increase the fertility of the soil. However, although these may be good for farm land, excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the marine environment can result in algae blooms, a decrease in oxygen degrades the habitat making it hard for marine life to survive. One way that the Ministry for the Environment monitors this indicator is by the percent change per hectare for each catchment over 5 years. By doing this, they can monitor the changes in sedimentation around the marine reserves and how this may affect the marine environment. Another indicator that the Ministry for the Environment uses is the toxic concentrations in shell fish. Although the Ministry for the Environment is aiming for no spills per region per annum, by monitoring the toxicity in shellfish they can monitor the water quality in the reserves.


Monitoring the percent of marine areas with legal protection is an indicator that can be used to monitor what portion of the mainland biogeographic regions are marine reserves
Figure 3: Percentage of Biogeographic Regions in New Zealand with Marine Reserves
<ref> Ministry for the Environment (2008) Marine Areas with Legal Protection. Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html on the 1/10/2013 </ref>. This was established by the Ministry for the Environment and the results from 2008 are shown in figure 3. These statistics are presented on the Ministry for the Environment webpage and are available for the public to view. By presenting the results on the bar graph, it makes it clear that throughout the 14 biogenic regions in New Zealand, 10 of them have at least one marine reserve. The Western North Island and North Cook Straight are the two biogeographic regions that have had an increase in the portion of the region that is a marine reserve. Although the majority of the regions have marine reserves, having four regions without marine reserves indicates that there are important marine ecosystems in New Zealand that remain unprotected <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2008) Marine Areas with Legal Protection. Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html on the 1/10/2013 </ref>. Another popular indicator for monitoring the abundance of species is the use of fish stocks under the quota management system. By monitoring the proportion of total commercial catch (by weight) from assessing fish stocks under the quota management system, a status of fish stocks can be established and used as an indicator of species numbers around marine reserves <ref> Gell, F.R. and Roberts, C.M. (2003) Benefits beyond boundaries: the fishery effects on marine reserves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Vol. 18. pp. 448-455 </ref>.

An example of a Marine Reserve that used species abundance as an indicator is the Cape Rodney- Okakari Marine Reserve. This was the first no-take marine reserve established both in New Zealand and globally. The marine reserve was established in 1975 and since then, there has been in increase in the abundance of adult snapper within the reserve compared to outside it <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2008) Marine Areas with Legal Protection. Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html on the 1/10/2013 </ref>. Lobsters have also become 15 times more abundant inside compared to outside of the reserve. The increases in snapper and lobster have also changed the habitat within the reserve, with seaweed regeneration and habitat restoration throughout 1978-2000 <ref> Ministry for the Environment (2008) Marine Areas with Legal Protection. Retrieved from http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html on the 1/10/2013 </ref>. By using the species abundance and habitat restoration over time, it becomes a useful tool and indicator.

Missing Indicators

Many other environmental indicators can be used with the marine environment. Since marine reserves are a relatively new conservation tool, more research is needed to gain a better understanding of the functions within the marine environment. One specific method that has been adopted in the marine environment but not specifically in marine reserves in New Zealand is the use of Diatoms to monitor pH changes, salinity, temperature, nutrient concentrations and hydrodynamic conditions <ref>Hunter, J.M. (2007) Diatoms as environmental indicators: a case study in the Bioluminescent Bays of Vieques, Puerto Rico. 20th Annual Keck Symposium. Pp. 167-172 </ref>. Diatoms are algae that are found in both marine and freshwater environments. By using these primary producers as indicators for marine reserves, trophic cascades can be researched. The use of these organisms has been used extensively in the freshwater environment but there has been no indices developed for use within the marine environment <ref>Desrosiers, C., Leflaive, J., Eulin, A. and Ten-Hage, L. (2013) Bioindicators in marine waters, Benthic diatoms as a tool to assess water quality from eutrophic to oligotrophic coastal ecosystems. Ecological Indicators. Vol. 32. pp. 25-34.</ref>.

Management methods of the marine environment

Previous methods of marine management

Standard methods of protecting marine areas involved user orientated management <ref> Ballantine, B. (1999) Marine reserves in New Zealand: The development of the concept and principles, Proceedings of an International Workshop on Marine Conservation for the New Millenium, 3-38 </ref>. This was based on zoning and the designation of compatible activites, attempts to combine sectors, and efforts to maximize use and minimize conflicts <ref> Ballantine, B. (1999) Marine reserves in New Zealand: The development of the concept and principles, Proceedings of an International Workshop on Marine Conservation for the New Millenium, 3-38 </ref>. This management was pro-active to an extent, however the approach was still user orientated and instead of focusing on sustaining and conserving marine life, management was still largely based on benefits to various user groups <ref> Ballantine, B. (1999) Marine reserves in New Zealand: The development of the concept and principles, Proceedings of an International Workshop on Marine Conservation for the New Millenium, 3-38 </ref>. In these standard methods areas of the sea were not kept completely free of human disturbance, therefore although there were benefits from having some kind of management, marine ecosystem services were still not being used in a sustainable way.

Marine reserves as a management tool

Marine reserves are seen as a much more effective tool in protecting marine life and are a necessary means in managing the marine environment. The success of marine reserves is based on the establishment of clear policies, the promotion of public discussion and education about marine reserves, and the formal designation of marine reserves in areas where fishing is already prohibited <ref> Ballantine, B. (1999) Marine reserves in New Zealand: The development of the concept and principles, Proceedings of an International Workshop on Marine Conservation for the New Millenium, 3-38 </ref>. Many management methods incorporate these ideas into the policy recommendations.

Management of New Zealand marine reserves

A variety of methods are used in regard to the management of New Zealand marine reserves, these include; biological monitoring, the marking of reserve boundaries, law enforcement, ensuring regulations are met, providing information to the public, and giving the community the opportunity to participate in management goals <ref>New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (2013) online: Managing Existing Marine Reserves http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz/seas/biodiversity/protected/managing.html (accessed 6th of September 2013)</ref>. To determine the efficacy of marine reserves on fisheries it has been discovered that before and after studies must be replicated and biological monitoring must be undertaken <ref>Rowley, R.J. (1994) Marine reserves in fisheries management, Aquatic conservation: marine and freshwater ecosystems, 4: 233-254</ref>.

Biological monitoring is one of the most important aspects of managing marine reserves. Biological monitoring allows changes to be tracked once the area has been removed of all fishing pressures. To allow effective monitoring baseline surveys must be taken before the reserve is established and control sites must be monitored alongside marine reserves to track changes generated by the reserve <ref>McCrone, A. (2001) National Overview of Biological Monitoring in New Zealands Marine Protected Areas, Wellington: Department of Conservation</ref>. 13 of 16 marine reserves in New Zealand have had a baseline survey set up before the establishment of the reserve, however many of these surveys were conducted without the objective of establishing a baseline, therefore there should be a greater priority for baseline surveys in the future <ref>McCrone, A. (2001) National Overview of Biological Monitoring in New Zealands Marine Protected Areas, Wellington: Department of Conservation</ref>. 15 of 16 marine reserves in New Zealand have had control sites, this is beneficial in providing reliable results of the changes associated with the establishment of marine reserves.

Trends can be developed from biological monitoring; this provides more information about marine habitats, species, and ecosystems, and provides evidence of efficacy. There are three types of monitoring programmes in New Zealand, habitat monitoring (monitoring the changes of features such as fauna and flora of the reserve), selected key species monitoring (monitoring the effect preservation has on population and size of selected species), and impact monitoring (monitoring the effect of human activities on the area) <ref>McCrone, A. (2001) National Overview of Biological Monitoring in New Zealands Marine Protected Areas, Wellington: Department of Conservation</ref>. The majority of monitoring programmes concentrate on selected key species. There have only been 2 monitoring programmes in New Zealand on human impacts, therefore more consideration should be given to visitor impacts on marine reserves and the impacts humans have on marine ecology <ref>McCrone, A. (2001) National Overview of Biological Monitoring in New Zealands Marine Protected Areas, Wellington: Department of Conservation</ref>. Examples of biological monitoring in New Zealand include the monitoring of fish and invertebrate at Tonga Island and Long Island Kokomohua, a habitat survey at Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve, and fish and rock lobster monitoring at the Cape Rodney- Okakari Pt Marine Reserves <ref>New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (2013) online: Managing Existing Marine Reserves http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz/seas/biodiversity/protected/managing.html (accessed 6th of September 2013)</ref>.

In addition to biological monitoring law enforcement and public information are important aspects of marine management. It is often difficult to ensure people comply with rules and regulations, therefore fishing must be policed, and signs must be made to ensure the message is clear <ref>New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy (2013) online: Managing Existing Marine Reserves http://www.biodiversity.govt.nz/seas/biodiversity/protected/managing.html (accessed 6th of September 2013)</ref>. The Department of Conservation enforces these marine reserve regulations, however the Ministry of Fisheries is also sometimes called in to catch known poachers in the area <ref> Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 25th of September 2013) </ref>.

Case Study of biological monitoring

A survey was taken before the establishment of the Goat Island marine reserve to record the physical and biological features. This was done using aerial photographs, shore surveys, echo-soundings, and existing diving information. Updated classifications of the marine area have been produced using maps from underwater transects and helicopter photography <ref> Ballantine, B. (1991) Marine Reserves for New Zealand, Auckland: University of Auckland, p.200 </ref>. Permanent quadrats have also been set up with detailed photographic records of encrusting life, counts of sea-eggs, kelp measurements and grazing mollusc surveys in each <ref> Ballantine, B. (1991) Marine Reserves for New Zealand, Auckland: University of Auckland, p.200 </ref>. Fish counts and crayfish counts are also undertaken, and some permanent transects have been established across kelp forest boundaries <ref> Ballantine, B. (1991) Marine Reserves for New Zealand, Auckland: University of Auckland, p.200 </ref>. This monitoring is being used to accurately track the changes the marine reserve has generated, and also provide factual data for management decisions, and information for the public <ref> Ballantine, B. (1991) Marine Reserves for New Zealand, Auckland: University of Auckland, p.200 </ref>.

Trends

General and Fishing Trends

As a result of the monitoring of marine reserves, a number of positive trends have been identified. Firstly, there has been a recent increase in the number of marine reserves, with more than half of New Zealand’s current reserves established since 2000, which has increased the total area of reserves by 68% <ref>Ministry for the Environment (2008) online: Environment Report Card http://www.mfe.govt.nz/environmental-reporting/marine/marine-protected-areas-indicator/marine-areas-legal-protection.html (accessed 2nd October 2013).</ref>. Furthering this, the total marine reserve area increased by 0.18 per cent from 2007 to 2008 <ref>Department of Conservation. Unpublished. Marine Reserves. Excel spreadsheet provided to Ministry for the Environment for the purpose of this environmental report card, 26 August 2008</ref>. This recent trend suggests that the number of marine reserves is likely to continue to increase into the future.


There have been many positive trends identified resulting from the establishment of marine reserves. Although many fishermen oppose reserves as they believe this will reduce the amount of fish they can catch, the trend that has been identified actually suggests catch-ability is increased. Allowing safe areas for fish to spawn and grow both in size and abundance has increased the populations of many fish not only inside the reserve but also outside of reserves, as the excess spill over and replenish depleted stocks <ref>Forest and bird (2013) online: Marine reserves http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/campaigns/we-love-marine-reserves/marine-reserves-faq (accessed 2nd October 2013)</ref>. Allowing fish to grow to a larger size within reserves also contributes to this trend, as larger fish are able to produce substantially larger quantities of offspring. Biological monitoring has confirmed increases in the both the physical size and population size of many species, including blue cod, snapper, crayfish and paua.

Ecological Trends

Ecologically, there have been many benefits from the establishment of marine reserves. At least four different trends have been identified, ranging from first order to fourth order changes <ref>Langlois, T. J. and Ballantine, W. J. (2005) Marine Ecological Research in New Zealand: Developing Predictive Models through the Study of No-Take Marine Reserves. Conservation Biology 19 (6) pp. 1763-1770. </ref>. These trends are focused on a number of case study reserves. The first ecological trend is the changes in abundance of exploited species, such as snapper and crayfish. Prior to the development of reserves, it was thought that these species would not benefit from reserves as they are mobile species and the size of reserves was thought to be too small to benefit them. However protecting them from fishing has increased the abundance and biomass of both species. Snapper above the legal size (>270mm) are about 14 times more abundant inside reserves than outside <ref>Willis, T. J., R. B. Millar, and R. C. Babcock. (2003) Protection of exploited fish in temperate regions: high density and biomass of snapper Pagrus auratus(Sparidae) in northern New Zealand marine reserves. Journal of Applied Ecology 40:214–227</ref>, while legal-sized rock lobsters (>100 mm) are estimated to be 3.7 times more abundant inside reserves than outside <ref>Kelly, S., D. Scott, A. B. MacDiarmid, and R. C. Babcock. (2000) Spiny lobster,Jasus edwardsii, recovery in New Zealand marine reserves. Biological Conservation 92:359–369. </ref>. This defiance of existing knowledge was explained by studying the behavioral patterns of the species, which revealed that despite being mobile, they display small-scale movement patterns which has allowed their populations to recover from exploitation within even small scale reserves <ref>Parsons, D. M., et al. 2003. Snapper Pagrus auratus (Sparidae) home range dynamics: acoustic tagging studies in a marine reserve. Marine Ecology Progress Series 262:253–265.</ref>.

Figure 4: Snapper (Chrysophrys auratus)
Figure 5: Crayfish or Rock Lobster (Jasus edwardsii)














The second trend is related to prey species. Decreases in the abundance and dominance of sea urchins was identified in the Leigh and Tawharanui reserves <ref>Shears, N. T., and R. C. Babcock. (2003). Continuing trophic cascade effects after 25 years of no-take marine reserve protection. Marine Ecology Progress Series 246:1–16.</ref>. Other predators have also shown visible decreases, such as kelp-associated fishes and infaunal bivalves in sandy habitats. The decrease in prey species indicates an increase in predation within reserves, as opposed to areas where fishing occurs. This is a positive trend as it indicates the presence of more large predators within the reserves, whereas in fished areas these are usually the first to be removed from the ecosystem. It supports the statement that marine reserves help to restore ecosystems to their natural form by removing the effects of human disturbance.

Figure 6: Habitat change at Leigh Marine Reserve. (a) shows barren habitat dominated by urchins while (b) shows mixed algal assemblages. Both photos are of the same site, in 1993 (a), 2000 (b).

The third ecological trend that has been identified is a change in habitat composition, with an increase in macroalgal kelp habitats identified with the development of marine reserves. Throughout the early 1960s it was noted that the formerly thick beds of kelp were depleting and were becoming replaced with coral encrusted surfaces that sea urchins grazed on <ref>Dromgoole, F. L. (1964). The depredation of Ecklonia radiata beds by the sea urchin Evechinus chloriticus. Tane 10:120–122.</ref>. In reserves such as Leigh and Tawharanui, it was identified that in the 20 year period after the reserves were created, a shift was seen from urchin dominated habitats to areas of kelp and macroalgae. This has been put down to an increase in predator species such as snapper and crayfish reducing the urchin population and restoring the natural balance of the ecosystem. There have been further benefits identified from this change in habitat composition, such as an increase in benthic primary productivity <ref>Babcock, R. C., et al. 1999. Changes in community structure in temperate marine reserves. Marine Ecology Progress Series 189:125–134. </ref>. This trend has been observed recently, with habitat transitions being noted as recently as 2000 which is attributed to the time lag involved as predator species need to build up in order to reduce urchin population sizes <ref>Shears, N. T., and R. C. Babcock. (2003). Continuing trophic cascade effects after 25 years of no-take marine reserve protection. Marine Ecology Progress Series 246:1–16.</ref>.

The fourth ecological trend is an increase in biodiversity associated with the habitat changes discussed in the third trend. The communities of the barren habitats were reported to be of low biodiversity <ref>Ayling, A. M. (1981). The role of biological disturbance in temperate subtidal encrusting communities. Ecology 62:830–847</ref>, while kelp and macroalgal beds are usually shown to have a large array of associated fauna <ref>Goodsell, P. J., and S. D. Connell. (2002). Can habitat loss be treated independently of habitat configuration? Implications for rare and common taxa in fragmented landscapes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 239:37–44</ref>. Increases in kelp and macroalgal habitats in association with the development of reserves therefore leads to an increase in biodiversity and productivity. A study in 1998 found that within the Leigh Reserve the contribution of the kelp epifauna to secondary productivity was 78% of the reefs productivity<ref>Taylor, R. B. (1998). Density, biomass and productivity of animals in four subtidal rocky reef habitats: the importance of small mobile invertebrates. Marine Ecology Progress Series 172:37–51.</ref>. Increases in the quantity of limpets was also identified within reserves as opposed to non-reserve sites. This increase was once again attributed to the habitat changes which are indirectly due to the increase in exploited predator species directly decreasing the size of urchin populations <ref>Langlois, T. J. and Ballantine, W. J. (2005) Marine Ecological Research in New Zealand: Developing Predictive Models through the Study of No-Take Marine Reserves. Conservation Biology 19 (6) pp. 1763-1770. </ref>. In summary, the changes within reserves involve many species at various trophic levels, are likely to vary across environmental gradients, and may involve time lags <ref>Langlois, T. J. and Ballantine, W. J. (2005) Marine Ecological Research in New Zealand: Developing Predictive Models through the Study of No-Take Marine Reserves. Conservation Biology 19 (6) pp. 1763-1770. </ref>. A table summarizing the trends seen is shown below.

Table 2: Summary of Ecological Effects

Education Trends

Another trend that has been seen in relation to reserves is an increase in education and awareness about the marine world. Reserves are often used to help inspire people into caring for the marine environment and its animals, so that they will want to do what they can to help protect it. An example of such a programme that utilizes reserves for the purposes of education is Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) which was established in Northland in 2002 <ref>EMR (2013) online: http://www.emr.org.nz/information.php?info_id=81 (Accessed 2nd October 2013)</ref>. It is now active in seven regions of New Zealand and has involved 19,200 students since its inception. The goal of the programme is to educate children about marine conservation through hands-on experiences with nature. It involves investigating marine biodiversity and local marine environments before visiting a marine reserve for a snorkeling activity. The students are also given the chance to compare unprotected and protected areas so that they can see the visible positive effects of marine reserves, and are encouraged to put their newfound knowledge into action within their communities <ref>EMR (2013) online: http://www.emr.org.nz/information.php?info_id=81 (Accessed 2nd October 2013)</ref>.

Figure 7: Students in action during the snorkelling experience EMR offers for children within marine reserves.

Recommendations

In conclusion marine reserves are found to be a very beneficial tool in managing marine life, therefore more reserves should be established in areas where reserves are sparse such as coastal mainland marine regions. In managing these reserves public education and participation should be promoted, clear policies should be established, and biological monitoring should be enforced to ensure trends can be observed and the benefits of the reserve can be seen clearly. This will ensure the reserve is successful as by seeing the benefits the reserve generates community participation will be enhanced and the motivation to protect marine life will be increased.

References

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