Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 55
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Charles, Anthony Westlund, Lena Bartley, Devin M. Fletcher, Warrick J. Garcia, Serge Govan, Hugh and Sanders, Jessica 2016. Fishing livelihoods as key to marine protected areas: insights from the World Parks Congress. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Vol. 26, p. 165.

    Cigliano, John A. Bauer, Amy Draheim, Megan M. Foley, Melissa M. Lundquist, Carolyn J. McCarthy, Julie-Beth Patterson, Katheryn W. Wright, Andrew J. and Parsons, E. C. M. 2016. The Kraken in the Aquarium: Questions that Urgently Need to be Addressed in Order to Advance Marine Conservation. Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 3,

    Di Lorenzo, Manfredi Claudet, Joachim and Guidetti, Paolo 2016. Spillover from marine protected areas to adjacent fisheries has an ecological and a fishery component. Journal for Nature Conservation, Vol. 32, p. 62.

    Díaz, David Mallol, Sandra Parma, Ana M. and Goñi, Raquel 2016. A 25-year marine reserve as proxy for the unfished condition of an exploited species. Biological Conservation, Vol. 203, p. 97.

    Easter, EE and White, JW 2016. Spatial management for protogynous sex-changing fishes: a general framework for coastal systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 543, p. 223.

    Hopf, Jess K. Jones, Geoffrey P. Williamson, David H. and Connolly, Sean R. 2016. Fishery consequences of marine reserves: short-term pain for longer-term gain. Ecological Applications, Vol. 26, Issue. 3, p. 818.

    Loring, Philip A 2016. The political ecology of gear bans in two fisheries: Florida's net ban and Alaska's Salmon wars. Fish and Fisheries,

    Olds, Andrew D. Connolly, Rod M. Pitt, Kylie A. Pittman, Simon J. Maxwell, Paul S. Huijbers, Chantal M. Moore, Brad R. Albert, Simon Rissik, David Babcock, Russell C. and Schlacher, Thomas A. 2016. Quantifying the conservation value of seascape connectivity: a global synthesis. Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 25, Issue. 1, p. 3.

    Salinas de León, Pelayo Acuña-Marrero, David Rastoin, Etienne Friedlander, Alan M. Donovan, Mary K. and Sala, Enric 2016. Largest global shark biomass found in the northern Galápagos Islands of Darwin and Wolf. PeerJ, Vol. 4, p. e1911.

    Viladrich, Núria Rossi, Sergio López-Sanz, Angel and Orejas, Covadonga 2016. Nutritional condition of two coastal rocky fishes and the potential role of a marine protected area. Marine Ecology, Vol. 37, Issue. 1, p. 46.

    Zuccarino-Crowe, Chiara M. Taylor, William W. Hansen, Michael J. Seider, Michael J. and Krueger, Charles C. 2016. Effects of lake trout refuges on lake whitefish and cisco in the Apostle Islands Region of Lake Superior. Journal of Great Lakes Research,

    Almany, Glenn R. 2015. Marine Ecology: Reserve Networks Are Necessary, but Not Sufficient. Current Biology, Vol. 25, Issue. 8, p. R328.

    Batista, M.I. Horta e Costa, B. Gonçalves, L. Henriques, M. Erzini, K. Caselle, J.E. Gonçalves, E.J. and Cabral, H.N. 2015. Assessment of catches, landings and fishing effort as useful tools for MPA management. Fisheries Research, Vol. 172, p. 197.

    Brown, Christopher J. White, Crow Beger, Maria Grantham, Hedley S. Halpern, Benjamin S. Klein, Carissa J. Mumby, Peter J. Tulloch, Vivitskaia J. D. Ruckelshaus, Mary and Possingham, Hugh P. 2015. Fisheries and biodiversity benefits of using static versus dynamic models for designing marine reserve networks. Ecosphere, Vol. 6, Issue. 10, p. art182.

    Davies, Charlotte E. Johnson, Andrew F. Wootton, Emma C. Greenwood, Spencer J. Clark, K. Fraser Vogan, Claire L. and Rowley, Andrew F. 2015. Effects of population density and body size on disease ecology of the European lobster in a temperate marine conservation zone. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, Vol. 72, Issue. suppl 1, p. i128.

    De Leo, Giulio A. and Micheli, Fiorenza 2015. The good, the bad and the ugly of marine reserves for fishery yields. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 370, Issue. 1681, p. 20140276.

    Gill, David A. Schuhmann, Peter W. and Oxenford, Hazel A. 2015. Recreational diver preferences for reef fish attributes: Economic implications of future change. Ecological Economics, Vol. 111, p. 48.

    Goetze, J.S. Jupiter, S.D. Langlois, T.J. Wilson, S.K. Harvey, E.S. Bond, T. and Naisilisili, W. 2015. Diver operated video most accurately detects the impacts of fishing within periodically harvested closures. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 462, p. 74.

    Green, Alison L. Maypa, Aileen P. Almany, Glenn R. Rhodes, Kevin L. Weeks, Rebecca Abesamis, Rene A. Gleason, Mary G. Mumby, Peter J. and White, Alan T. 2015. Larval dispersal and movement patterns of coral reef fishes, and implications for marine reserve network design. Biological Reviews, Vol. 90, Issue. 4, p. 1215.

    Howarth, Leigh M. Roberts, Callum M. Hawkins, Julie P. Steadman, Daniel J. and Beukers-Stewart, Bryce D. 2015. Effects of ecosystem protection on scallop populations within a community-led temperate marine reserve. Marine Biology, Vol. 162, Issue. 4, p. 823.


Spillover from marine reserves and the replenishment of fished stocks

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 February 2010

No-take marine reserves are widely recognized as an effective conservation tool for protecting marine resources. Despite considerable empirical evidence that abundance and biomass of fished species increase within marine reserve boundaries, the potential for reserves to provide fisheries and conservation benefits to adjacent waters remains heavily debated. This paper uses statistical and population models to evaluate published empirical data on adult spillover from marine reserves and shows that spillover is a common phenomenon for species that respond positively to reserve protection, but at relatively small scales, detectable on average up to 800 m from reserve boundaries. At these small scales, local fisheries around reserves were likely unsustainable in 12 of 14 cases without the reserve, and spillover partially or fully offsets losses in catch due to reserve closure in the other two cases. For reserves to play a role in sustaining and replenishing larger-scale fished stocks, networks of reserves may be necessary, but as few exist this is difficult to evaluate. The results suggest reserves can simultaneously meet conservation objectives and benefit local fisheries adjacent to their boundaries.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Dr Benjamin S. Halpern Tel: +1 805 892 2531 Fax: +1 805 892 2510 e-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R.A. Abesamis & G.R. Russ (2005) Density-dependent spillover from a marine reserve: long-term evidence. Ecological Applications 15 (5): 17981812.

R.A. Abesamis , A.C. Alcala & G.R. Russ (2006 a) How much does the fishery at Apo Island benefit from spillover of adult fish from the adjacent marine reserve? Fishery Bulletin 104 (3): 360375.

R.A. Abesamis , G.R. Russ & A.C. Alcala (2006 b) Gradients of abundance of fish across no-take marine reserve boundaries: evidence from Philippine coral reefs. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16 (4): 349371.

A.C. Alcala , G.R. Russ , A.P. Maypa & H.P. Calumpong (2005) A long-term, spatially replicated experimental test of the effect of marine reserves on local fish yields. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 62 (1): 98108.

J.S. Ashworth & R.F.G. Ormond (2005) Effects of fishing pressure and trophic group on abundance and spillover across boundaries of a no-take zone. Biological Conservation 121 (3): 333344.

R.S. Cantrell & C. Cosner (2003) Spatial Ecology via Reaction-diffusion Equations. New York, NY, USA: John Wiley and Sons.

J. Claudet , C.W. Osenberg , L. Benedetti-Cecchi , P. Domenici , J.A. Garcia-Charton , A. Perez-Ruzafa , F. Badalamenti , J. Bayle-Sempere , A. Brito , F. Bulleri , J.M. Culioli , M. Dimech , J. M. Falcon , I. Guala , M. Milazzo , J. Sanchez-Meca , P.J. Somerfield , B. Stobart , F. Vandeperre , C. Valle & S. Planes (2008) Marine reserves: size and age do matter. Ecology Letters 11 (5): 481489.

C. Costello , S.D. Gaines & J. Lynham (2008) Can catch shares prevent fisheries collapse? Science 321: 16781681.

R.A. Fisher (1937) The wave of advance of advantageous genes. Annals of Eugenics 7: 353369.

A. Forcada , J.T. Bayle-Sempere , C. Valle & P. Sanchez-Jerez (2008) Habitat continuity effects on gradients of fish biomass across marine protected area boundaries. Marine Environmental Research 66 (5): 536547.

A. Forcada , C. Valle , P. Bonhomme , G. Criquet , G. Cadiou , P. Lenfant & J.L. Sanchez-Lizaso (2009) Effects of habitat on spillover from marine protected areas to artisanal fisheries. Marine Ecology Progress Series 379: 197211.

R.B. Francini-Filho & R.L. Moura (2008) Evidence for spillover of reef fishes from a no-take marine reserve: an evaluation using the before-after control-impact (BACI) approach. Fisheries Research 93: 346356.

F.R. Gell & C.M. Roberts (2003) Benefits beyond boundaries: the fishery effects of marine reserves. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 18 (9): 448455.

R. Goni , S. Adlerstein , D. Alvarez-Berastegui , A. Forcada , O. Renones , G. Criquet , S. Polti , G. Cadiou , C. Valle , P. Lenfant , P. Bonhomme , A. Perez-Ruzafa , J.L. Sanchez-Lizaso , J.A. Garcia-Charton , G. Bernard , V. Stelzenmuller & S. Planes (2008) Spillover from six western Mediterranean marine protected areas: evidence from artisanal fisheries. Marine Ecology-Progress Series 366: 159174.

R. Goni , A. Quetglas & O. Renones (2006) Spillover of spiny lobsters Palinurus elephas from a marine reserve to an adjoining fishery. Marine Ecology Progress Series 308: 207219.

S. Guenette , T.J. Pitcher & C.J. Walters (2000) The potential of marine reserves for the management of northern cod in Newfoundland. In: Essential Fish Habitat and Marine Reserves, Bulletin of Marine Science Volume 66, ed. EDITORS, pp. 831–852. Miami, FL, USA: University of Miami, Rosenthiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

P. Guidetti (2007) Potential of marine reserves to cause community-wide changes beyond their boundaries. Conservation Biology 21 (2): 540545.

B.S. Halpern (2003) The impact of marine reserves: do reserves work and does reserve size matter? Ecological Applications 13 (1): S117S137.

B.S. Halpern , S.D. Gaines & R.R. Warner (2004) Confounding effects of the export of production and the displacement of fishing effort from marine reserves. Ecological Applications 14 (4): 12481256.

B.S. Halpern , S. Walbridge , K.A. Selkoe , C.V. Kappel , F. Micheli , C. D'Agrosa , J. Bruno , K.S. Casey , C. Ebert , H.E. Fox , R. Fujita , D. Heinemann , H.S. Lenihan , E.M.P. Madin , R. Myers , M. Perry , E. Selig , M. Spalding , R. Steneck & R. Watson (2008) A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319: 948952.

M. Harmelin-Vivien , L. Le Direach , J. Bayle-Sempere , E. Charbonnel , J.A. Garcia-Charton , D. Ody , A. Perez-Ruzafa , O. Renones , P. Sanchez-Jerez & C. Valle (2008) Gradients of abundance and biomass across reserve boundaries in six Mediterranean marine protected areas: evidence of fish spillover? Biological Conservation 141 (7): 18291839.

A. Hastings & L.W. Botsford (1999) Equivalence in yield from marine reserves and traditional fisheries management. Science 284 (5419): 15371538.

R. Hilborn , K. Stokes , J.J. Maguire , T. Smith , L.W. Botsford , M. Mangel , J. Orensanz , A. Parma , J. Rice , J. Bell , K.L. Cochrane , S. Garcia , S.J. Hall , G.P. Kirkwood , K. Sainsbury , G. Stefansson & C. Walters (2004) When can marine reserves improve fisheries management? Ocean and Coastal Management 47 (3–4): 197205.

D.M. Kaplan & L.W. Botsford (2005) Effects of variability in spacing of coastal marine reserves on fisheries yield and sustainability. Canadian Journal of Fish and Aquatic Science 62: 905912 [www document]. URL

B. Kaunda-Arara & G.A. Rose (2004) Effects of marine reef national parks on fishery CPUE in coastal Kenya. Biological Conservation 118 (1): 113.

J.B. Kellner , R.M. Nisbet & S.D. Gaines (2008) Spillover from marine reserves related to mechanisms of population regulation. Theoretical Ecology 1: 117127.

J.B. Kellner , I. Tetreault , S.D. Gaines & R.M. Nisbet (2007) Fishing the line near marine reserves in single and multispecies fisheries. Ecological Applications 17 (4): 10391054.

S. Kelly & A.B. MacDiarmid (2003) Movement patterns of mature spiny lobsters, Jasus edwardsii, from a marine reserve. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37 (1): 149158.

W.J.F. Le Quesne & E.A. Codling (2009) Managing mobile species with MPAs: the effects of mobility, larval dispersal, and fishing mortality on closure size. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66 (1): 122131.

S.E. Lester , B.S. Halpern , K. Grorud-Colvert , J. Lubchenco , B.I. Ruttenberg , S.D. Gaines , S. Airame & R.R. Warner (2009) Biological effects within no-take marine reserves: a global synthesis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 384: 3346.

J. Lubchenco , S.R. Palumbi , S.D. Gaines & S. Andelman (2003) Plugging a hole in the ocean: the emerging science of marine reserves. Ecological Applications 13: S3S7.

T.R. McClanahan & S. Mangi (2000) Spillover of exploitable fishes from a marine park and its effect on the adjacent fishery. Ecological Applications 10: 17921805.

T.R. McClanahan & S. Mangi (2001) The effect of a closed area and beach seine exclusion on coral reef fish catches. Fisheries Management and Ecology 8 (2): 107121.

F. Micheli , B.S. Halpern , L.W. Botsford & R.R. Warner (2004) Trajectories and correlates of community change in no-take marine reserves. Ecological Applications 14 (6): 17091723.

M.G. Neubert (2003) Marine reserves and optimal harvesting. Ecology Letters 6 (9): 843849.

D. Pauly , V. Christensen , J. Dalsgaard , R. Froese & F. Torres (1998) Fishing down marine food webs. Science 279 (5352): 860863.

A. Perez-Ruzafa , E. Martin , C. Marcos , J. M. Zamarro , B. Stobart , M. Harmelin-Vivien , S. Polti , S. Planes , J. A. Garcia-Charton & M. Gonzalez-Wanguemert (2008) Modelling spatial and temporal scales for spill-over and biomass exportation from MPAs and their potential for fisheries enhancement. Journal of Nature Conservation 16 (4): 234255.

T.J. Pitcher , E.A. Buchary & T. Hutton (2002) Forecasting the benefits of no-take human-made reefs using spatial ecosystem simulation. ICES Journal of Marine Science59: S17S26 [www document]. URL

A. Rakitin & D.L. Kramer (1996) Effect of a marine reserve on the distribution of coral reef fishes in Barbados. Marine Ecology Progress Series 131 (1–3): 97113.

C.M. Roberts , J.A. Bohnsack , F. Gell , J.P. Hawkins & R. Goodridge (2001) Effects of marine reserves on adjacent fisheries. Science 294 (5548): 19201923.

C.M. Roberts , J.P. Hawkins & F.R. Gell (2005) The role of marine reserves in achieving sustainable fisheries. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences 360 (1453): 123132.

L.D. Rodwell , E.B. Barbier , C.M. Roberts & T.R. McClanahan (2003) The importance of habitat quality for marine reserve: fishery linkages. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 60: 171181.

R.J. Rowley (1994) Marine reserves in fisheries management. Aquatic Conservation, Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 4 (3): 233254.

G.R. Russ , A.C. Alcala , A.P. Maypa , H.P. Calumpong & A.T. White (2004) Marine reserve benefits local fisheries. Ecological Applications 14 (2): 597606.

M.A. Samoilys (1997) Movement in a large predatory fish: coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus (Pisces: Serranidae), on Heron Reef, Australia. Coral Reefs 16 (3): 151158.

M.D. Smith & J.E. Wilen (2003) Economic impacts of marine reserves: the importance of spatial behavior. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 46: 183206.

D.T. Topping , C.G. Lowe & J.E. Caselle (2005) Home range and habitat utilization of adult California sheephead, Semicossyphus pulcher (Labridae), in a temperate no-take marine reserve. Marine Biology 147 (2): 301311.

M.H. Tupper (2002) Marine reserves and fisheries management. Science 295 (5558): 12331233.

I.D. Williams , W.J. Walsh , J.T. Claisse , B.N. Tissot & K.A. Stamoulis (2009) Impacts of a Hawaiian marine protected area network on the abundance and fishery sustainability of the yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens. Biological Conservation 142 (5): 10661073.

B. Worm , E.B. Barbier , N. Beaumont , J.E. Duffy , C. Folke , B.S. Halpern , J.B.C. Jackson , H. K. Lotze , F. Micheli , S.R. Palumbi , E. Sala , K.A. Selkoe , J.J. Stachowicz & R. Watson (2006) Impacts of biodiversity loss on ocean ecosystem services. Science 314 (5800): 787790.

D. Zeller & J. Reinert (2004) Modelling spatial closures and fishing effort restrictions in the Faroe Islands marine ecosystem. Ecological Modelling 172 (2–4): 403420.

D. Zeller , S.L. Stoute & G.R. Russ (2003) Movements of reef fishes across marine reserve boundaries: effects of manipulating a density gradient. Marine Ecology Progress Series 254: 269280.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Halpern et al. supplementary material
Supplementary tables

 Unknown (359 KB)
359 KB