Habitat damage, marine reserves, and the value of spatial management

Holly V. Moeller, Michael G. Neubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The biological benefits of marine reserves have garnered favor in the conservation community, but "no-take" reserve implementation is complicated by the economic interests of fishery stakeholders. There are now a number of studies examining the conditions under which marine reserves can provide both economic and ecological benefits. A potentially important reality of fishing that these studies overlook is that fishing can damage the habitat of the target stock. Here, we construct an equilibrium bioeconomic model that incorporates this habitat damage and show that the designation of marine reserves, coupled with the implementation of a tax on fishing effort, becomes both biologically and economically favorable as habitat sensitivity increases. We also study the effects of varied degrees of spatial control on fisheries management. Together, our results provide further evidence for the potential monetary and biological value of spatial management, and the possibility of a mutually beneficial resolution to the fisherman-conservationist marine reserve designation dilemma. © 2013 by the Ecological Society of America.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-971
Number of pages13
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): USA 00002
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Hal Caswell, Guillermo Herrera, Julie Kellner, Martin Smith, three anonymous reviewers, and members of the 2010 ACKME Retreat for discussions and suggestions. M. G. Neubert acknowledges the support of the National Science Foundation (DMS-0532378, OCE-1031256) and a Thomas B. Wheeler Award for Ocean Science and Society. H. V. Moeller acknowledges support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This research is based in part on work supported by Award No. USA 00002 made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official opinion of KAUST.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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