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Some good environmental news: a no-take marine reserve that really works!

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 A study by Octavio Aburto-Oropeza of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and colleagues, published in PLoS ONE in August, 2011, has demonstrated that the Cabo Pulmo National Park, a well-managed No-Take Marine Reserve since 1995, now supports dramatically more fish biomass, particularly for top predators and for other carnivores.  While no significant differences in abundance were detected in 1999, four years after its establishment, the biomass of top carnivores has now increased 11-fold, and that of other carnivores 4-fold by 2009.  Total biomass increased from 0.75 tonnes per hectare in 1999 to 4.24 tonnes per hectare in 2009, with top predators comprising almost 1/3 of this total.  Fish are both larger and more abundant, and the structure of the fish fauna now approaches that of never-fished remote reef locations.  Reasons for this notable success include the strong support of the local community which has turned a 71 square kilometer  reserve with 25% of its area officially no-take, into one that is nearly 100% no-take in practice.  The Cabo Pulmo National Park is unlike any of the other 10 no-take reserves in the Gulf of California, none of which reveal any significant differences in fish biomass from nearby open access sites.