The carrying capacity and the effects of protection level in three marine protected areas in the Balearic Islands (NW Mediterranean)
Josep Coll, Antoni Garcia-Rubies, Gabriel Morey and Antoni M. Grau

The monitoring of fisheries target species in three marine protected areas (MPAs) located in the NW Mediterranean provided important conclusions on management effects. The abundance, occurrence and biomass of large fish showed consistent and growing trends inside the MPAs. Fish diversity was also favoured by protection. Nevertheless, spatial variance of these indicators at a medium scale was often of the same order as that caused by time between different protection levels. The carrying capacity was determined for the first time in western Mediterranean MPAs in five out of six sites studied, and in all cases it was achieved within the first five years of protection. The observed values indicate that the system of the studied MPAs is representative of the general coastal environment of the Balearic Islands, but is far from the potential of other MPAs which are considered as hot spots in other localities. Likewise, this study shows that partially protected areas can also be fairly effective if their habitats fit with those required by target species and fishing modalities are suitably regulated or banned.

Keywords: Mediterranean, MPAs, fish, no-take areas, carrying capacity, buffer areas
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 76(4) : 809-826 Back PDF
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