Research from 2008 shows that marine sanctuaries, the no-take component of marine parks, can also help pelagic (or mobile) fish populations, the conservation groups said today.
“Today Jervis Bay is among major Marine Parks that are currently researching the life structure of these pelagic fish so that they may better adapt the zoning of sanctuaries for species such as the yellow tail scad and the slimy mackerel.
“Research published in 2006 in the respected journal Conservation Biology shows marine sanctuaries can benefit pelagic fish, that is fish that move throughout the ocean. This is because fishers often targets species when they are gathered together to feed or mate. Fish, including popular fished species such as kingfish, are particularly vulnerable at this time because they are easier to find and therefore easier to catch.
“By ensuring that marine sanctuaries cover the areas where fish aggregate we can ensure that fish are protected when they are at their most vulnerable. This will lead to healthier fish populations.
“The there is research that supports the importance of marine sanctuaries to migratory fish comes from work being done off the NSW coast in the Jervis Bay Marine Park.* It shows that to ensure marine parks are effective the areas that fish use must be protected.
“This is the latest example of local research supporting what has already been demonstrated overseas.
“The current NSW Government process of trying to place marine sanctuaries in areas that no-one uses clearly undermines the goal of marine parks – to conserve biodiversity. To ensure that pelagic species are protected and conservation goals are met we must ensure that fish aggregation areas are protected in marine sanctuaries.
“The current zonings for the Jervis Bay Marine Parks and Solitary Islands Marine Parks do not go nearly far enough to protect our precious marine wildlife and ensure a sustainable marine environment into the future,” Ms Kessler said.
Lynch, T.P. (In press) “Incorporation of Recreational Fishing Effort into Design of Marine Protected Areas” Conservation Biology