The commercial fishing and conservationist communities have clashed many times over how to protect fishery resources and conserve marine ecosystems while also supporting the economies dependent on the oceans. However, a new twist in the argument is the louder call from both sides for better scientific support for fishery management decisions.

Fisheries management approaches often focus on single species protection by limiting the number of days fishermen can work, the types of fishing gear used, and amount and size of caught fish. Challenging these traditional approaches are ecosystem-based management strategies that would establish large marine reserve "no-take" zones, where extractive activities are banned.

Scientific support of marine reserve ecosystem approaches reached a crescendo in February with the release of a Scientific Consensus Statement from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) supporting the marine reserves strategy.1 Based on a three-year review of literature evaluating marine reserve effectiveness,...

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