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Spillover of fish naivete from marine reserves

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Ecology Letters
Issue number2
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)191-197
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Spillover of adult fish biomass is an expected benefit from no-take marine reserves to adjacent fisheries. Here, we show fisher-naive behaviour in reef fishes also spills over from marine reserves, potentially increasing access to fishery benefits by making fishes more susceptible to spearguns. The distance at which two targeted families of fishes began to flee a potential fisher [flight initiation distance (FID)] was lower inside reserves than in fished areas, and this reduction extended outside reserve boundaries. Reduced FID persisted further outside reserves than increases in fish biomass. This finding could help increase stakeholder support for marine reserves and improve current models of spillover by informing estimates for spatial changes in catchability. Behavioural changes of fish could help explain differences between underwater visual census and catch data in quantifying the spatial extent of spillover from marine reserves, and should be considered in the management of adjacent fisheries.