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Ecosystem-Based Management in Fiji: Successes and Challenges after Five Years of Implementation

Journal of Marine Biology
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  • Biology
  • Ecology


In 2005, a network of 3 large, district-wide marine protected areas (MPAs) and 17 village-managed closures (tabu) was established in Kubulau District, Fiji. Underwater visual census (UVC) data of fish biomass and benthic cover were collected between 2007 and 2009 and analysed with PERMANOVA and ANOSIM to assess differences between closed and open areas. High reef fish biomass (>1000 kg/ha) within closures, significantly elevated over open areas, was consistently observed from: (1) tabu areas on naturally productive reefs within visual distance from villages; and (2) the large, long-term permanent closure located away from fishing pressure. Factors that may have contributed to low fish biomass within closures include small size of closures; noncompliance with management rules; and disclosure of management success to fishers from villages with high reliance on fisheries products. Future success of the network depends on improving awareness of management rules and ensuring implementation within a broader ecosystem framework.

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