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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 308:207-219 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps308207

Spillover of spiny lobsters Palinurus elephas from a marine reserve to an adjoining fishery

Raquel Goñi*, Antoni Quetglas, Olga Reñones

Centro Oceanográfico de Baleares, Apdo. 291, 07080 Palma de Mallorca, Spain

ABSTRACT: We investigate the effects of the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve (CIMR, Western Mediterranean) on the adjacent Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) fishery. After 9 to 12 yr of no-take protection there was a gradient of lobster density from the interior of the reserve up to a distance of about 4 km from its boundary. Catch and effort data were collected onboard commercial fishing boats in the fishery adjacent to the CIMR, and combined with catch per unit effort (CPUE) data from monitoring surveys conducted annually inside the reserve. Generalized additive (GAM) and linear (GLM) models were employed to examine the relationships of CPUE and catch per unit area (CPUA) as a function of distance to the reserve boundary. CPUE showed a significant non-linear decline with distance from the centre of the reserve, with a depression at the boundary followed by a plateau. This depression was caused by local depletion associated with concentration of fishing effort at the reserve boundary, while the plateau suggests that lobster export from the reserve is sufficient to maintain stable catch rates up to 1500 m from the boundary. Commercial catch and effort data were combined to estimate CPUA, which declined linearly with distance from the reserve. Analysis of recaptures of lobsters tagged and released inside the reserve indicates that the density gradient is caused by lobsters emigrating from the reserve.

KEY WORDS: Marine reserve · Spiny lobster · Spillover · Tag-recapture · Artisanal fisheries · Western Mediterranean

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