Perspective | Can local management of fisheries through periodic closures help to kick-start marine conservation efforts?

By Steve Rocliffe and Alasdair Harris

For many years, the Vezo – traditional fishers in southwest Madagascar – saw marine conservation as a threat, a way of preventing them from accessing their fishing grounds.  This is perhaps unsurprising in these semi-nomadic communities, where seafood is the sole source of protein in 99% of meals and income is much less than US $2 per day.  The prospect of waiting years for the uncertain benefit of fish spillover from a protected area represented too high a risk – and too severe an economic sacrifice – to be a workable solution.

Perspective | Success in the smallest marine reserve of Taiwan: A triumph anchored by effective enforcement, stakeholder support, and replenishment

By Ming-Shiou Jeng, Colin KC Wen, Jeng-Ping Chen

No-take marine reserves are increasingly designated in tropical coral reefs with the goals of maintaining biodiversity and subsidizing fisheries.  However, due to lack of enforcement and replenishment, many cases of reserves – including most of Taiwan's – have exhibited little difference in diversity or abundance inside their boundaries compared to outside.  These reserves have become "paper parks" where illegal fishing continues.  Failed marine reserves lead to disappointment in local communities and discourage the advocacy and designation of more reserves in future.