Aquat. Living Resour.
Volume 29, Number 2, April-June 2016
Symposium of the Association Française d'Halieutique (2015)
|Number of page(s)||18|
|Published online||10 June 2016|
Exploring the potential effects of marine protected areas on the ecosystem structure of the Gulf of Gabes using the Ecospace model
1 UR 03AGRO1 Ecosystèmes et Ressources
Aquatiques, Institut National Agronomique de Tunisie, 43 Avenue Charles Nicolle, 1082
2 UMR 6539 Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Environnement Marin (CNRS/UBO/IRD/Ifremer), Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, Rue Dumont d’Urville, 29280 Plouzané, France
3 Unité de Recherche Écologie et Dynamique des Systèmes Anthropisés (EDYSAN FRE 3498 CNRS-UPJV), Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Rue des Louvels, 80000 Amiens, France
a Corresponding author:
Accepted: 13 April 2016
The Gulf of Gabes is considered as one of the most productive areas of the southern Mediterranean Sea and it plays an important role in Tunisian economy. It is known to be an archetypal ecosystem in which the effects of fisheries are the most pronounced. Based on the stock assessment outcomes, it is as a highly exploited ecosystem. Thereupon, it becomes necessary to establish adequate measures to facilitate the recovery of the marine resources. The most important sets of management measures regard the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). However, these management plans should be assessed beforehand to make sure of the relevance of the measure and its impact on marine resources. Modeling may significantly enhance our understanding of the likely impacts of fisheries management plans on groups that are very difficult to study and this approach gives insights at larger spatial scales. We used Ecospace to investigate the potential impacts of several spatial management plans on the ecosystem structure of the Gulf of Gabes. The Ecospace model is based on the existing Ecopath model elaborated by Hattab (2013). The simulation were carried over a 15-year period. The outcomes of the simulations, suggest that the implementation of MPAs in the Gulf of Gabes could be simultaneously beneficial for the ecosystem and fishing activities. However, the benefits are related to the characteristics of the MPA. The spatial simulations highlight that the location is crucial to the success of the MPA. Additionally, an increase in the size of a MPA can result in an increase in the spillover effect and, consequently, in catches in the neighborhood without harming ecosystem integrity. The configuration of the implemented MPA is of capital importance, a set of many small MPAs is more beneficial than fewer and larger MPAs, especially in terms of catches.
Key words: Ecospace / Gulf of Gabes / fisheries management / marine protected areas (MPA)
© EDP Sciences 2016
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