No-take marine reserves are essential for scientific monitoring, likely to contribute to the sustainability of targeted species, help to buffer biodiversity loss due to climate change impacts, and provide public education, tourism and diverse economic benefits to local communities. However, the establishment of no-take marine reserves has been a contentious policy in several countries because of a perception that recreational fishers are opposed to reserves. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether negative perceptions about reserves are widespread amongst recreational fishers, and whether perceptions change after the reserve has been created. In this study, recreational fishers were surveyed in ten Australian marine parks to determine levels of support and beliefs about the benefits and costs of no-take marine reserves. A ‘space-for-time’ approach was used to explore whether support is higher in older reserves. The results suggest that most recreational fishers who fish in established marine parks are supportive of the no-take marine reserves within them. On average, 63.3% of fishers support no-take marine reserves in their marine park, and 17.8% are opposed. Further, recreational fishers’ support for no-take marine reserves increases markedly with reserve age. This research indicates that most recreational fishers are supportive of no-take marine reserves within marine parks and that support increases over time.
- Marine park
- Marine protected area