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Direct and indirect effects of marine protection: rockfish conservation areas as a case study

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.Sc.
Date created
Fishing is one of the most pervasive anthropogenic stressors to the world’s oceans. As a result, reversing declining trends in fish populations and restoring the health of the world’s oceans will largely depend on the efficacy of future fisheries management. In 2002, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced the creation of a series of Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCAs), a type of marine protected area, along the coast of British Columbia, Canada. In this thesis I explore the direct and indirect consequences of RCAs in the Strait of Georgia. I found that RCAs currently harbour higher densities of rockfish than do ecologically equivalent unprotected areas but these differences in meso-predator numbers have not induced detectable effects at lower trophic levels (i.e., trophic cascades). This study is the first to assess on a large scale the effectiveness of this federal marine management strategy, implemented for a group of threatened species.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Côté, Isabelle M.
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