Paradox of marine protected areas: Suppression of fishing may cause species loss

Nao Takashina, Akihiko Mougi, Yoh Iwasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


A number of fish and invertebrate stocks have been depleted by overexploitation in recent years. To address this, marine protected areas (MPAs) are often established to protect biodiversity and recover stocks. We analyzed the potential impact of establishing MPAs on marine ecosystems using mathematical models. We demonstrate that establishment of an MPA can sometimes result in a considerable decline, or even extinction, of a species. We focus on a prey-predator system in two patches, one exposed to fishing activity and the other protected (MPA). Our analyses reveal that the establishment of the MPA can cause a reduction in prey abundance, and even extinction of the prey. Such unintended consequences are more likely to occur if the predator species is a generalist and if the MPA is intended to protect only the predatory species. Further, a mobile predator that migrates adaptively rather than randomly is associated with a greater reduction in prey abundance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-485
Number of pages11
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Paradox of marine protected areas: Suppression of fishing may cause species loss'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this