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    1. examine the utility of marine reserves and protected areas to conserve marine biological diversity and living resources, including fisheries;

    2. compare benefits and costs of this approach to more conventional tools;

    3. explore the feasibility of implementing marine reserves and protected areas; and

    4. assess the scientific basis and adequacy of techniques used for the location, design, and implementation of marine reserves and protected areas, including their successes for management of fisheries.

The project reviews the design, implementation, and evaluation of marine reserves and protected areas, using examples from the United States as well as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other countries in which they have been implemented. The adequacy of current efforts to use marine protected areas and reserves is assessed both as a management approach for restoring declining fish stocks and as a tool for conserving marine biological diversity. This report recommends ways to improve the implementation of marine protected areas and reserves, and identifies future research that could assist in implementing these tools more effectively.


This study evolved from a confluence of interests in the timely and controversial topic of setting aside areas in the ocean for the conservation and preservation of living marine resources. Primary funding was supplied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service and National Marine Sanctuaries Program, with additional funds from the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife and National Park Services. The committee held four information-gathering meetings at the following sites: Washington, D.C.; Islamorada, Florida; Monterey, California; and Seattle, Washington. Speakers from each region were invited to address the committee and time was allowed for public comments (Appendix D).

In organizing this report, the committee sought to cover the more difficult issues surrounding the design and implementation of marine reserves and protected areas. Chapter 2 describes the differences between marine and terrestrial ecosystems that influence both the goals and the design of protected areas. Specific goals for establishing protected areas in marine environments are also described in that chapter. Because much of the interest in reserves and MPAs has emerged from the perceived failure of conventional fisheries management strategies, the strengths and weaknesses of these conventional approaches are explored in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 describes the values, expected costs and benefits, and need for stakeholder involvement in identifying goals and establishing management plans for MPAs and reserves. Chapter 5 presents both the theoretical arguments and the empirical evidence for marine reserves in the form of a litera-

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