In 2006, four experimental lobster reserves (each 0.5-1 km2 in area) were implemented along the Norwegian Skagerrak coast offering complete protection to shellfish and partial protection to fish — only hook-and-line fishing was allowed (MPA News 8:5). Results from a before-after control-impact (! BACI) study of the reserves have been published. By 2010, density of European lobster inside the reserves increased by 3.5 times and lobster size rose 13%; in comparison, the control areas showed only modest changes. Meanwhile, the population density and body size of coastal Atlantic cod studied inside one reserve also increased in comparison to multiple control areas, even without full protection for the fish. The study, conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, appears in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It represents one of the northernmost documentations of MPA effects to date.
For more information: Even Moland, Institute of Marine Research, His, Norway. Email: even.moland [at] imr.no