What are "No-Take" Marine Reserves?

The concept of marine reserves is new and different from standard marine management. It is proactive rather than reactive. Its operation is not dependent on detailed information. Marine reserves are additional to detailed and general marine planning and management, which will continue to operate and develop outside the reserves. Marine reserves provide essential support to these management systems, especially by providing insurance and buffers against ignorance and error.

family with fish

Marine reserves aim to maintain (or restore) the intrinsic biodiversity and natural processes. No fishing is permitted nor any removal of material. No dredging, dumping, construction or any other direct disturbance is allowed. Within these limits, people are encouraged to view the results (directly or vicariously) and hence learn the values of natural biodiversity. The reserves and their rules are permanent.

The known benefits of marine reserves already form a long list and cover a wide range. More are being discovered at a rapid rate. Many direct benefits to science, education, conservation, and various forms of recreation are now well-established. Indirect benefits - to the fishing industry, to tourism, to resource planning, and to ecosystem health – are steadily becoming clearer, from empirical data and from modelling. The potential benefits of marine reserves are universal in scientific and social terms. They are independent of bio-geographical region and ecological habitat, and also of culture, politics and economics. Marine reserves can work anywhere.


10% ? - Why this is a miminum size for a marine reserve.

The key point is not the size of particular reserves (or their number) but the size of the whole network. This size is measured as a proportion of the whole sea – as a percentage of area. This percentage is maintained at all scales – regional, ecological, etc., i.e. it feeds back to representation.

The aim is clear, but we do not know with any precision how much is required to achieve it. General experience suggests that it will be more than 10% and less than 50%. Even this very broad range is informative. Since some of the clearest benefits (e.g. to science and education) would require at least 10%, and provision at that level would greatly assist in gaining more information, the first stage should aim for at least 10%.

10% - extended article

Some questions answered:

Excerpts from "Marine Reserves for New Zealand" by Bill Ballantine

How about in your backyard?

The thistledown effect.

Want some excuses?

What's the problem?

What's the point of food you can't eat?

Why take out insurance?

vision  hauraki

An introduction to marine reserves
An article from Vision Hauraki

For more information:

Get a copy of the Marine Reserve Education and Action Kit from the University of Auckland marine laboratory at Leigh, phone (09) 422 6111.

Another useful reference : "Marine Reserves - a guide for prospective applicants", is available from the Department of Conservation, phone (09) 307 9279.