Data from: Fishing pressure impacts the abundance gradient of European lobsters across the borders of a newly established marine protected area
Nillos-Kleiven, Portia et al. (2018), Data from: Fishing pressure impacts the abundance gradient of European lobsters across the borders of a newly established marine protected area, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rs39059
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are considered as viable fisheries management tools due to their potential benefits of adult spillover and recruitment subsidy to nearby fisheries. However, before-after-control-impact (BACI) studies that explore the biological and fishery effects of MPAs to surrounding fisheries are scarce. We present results from a fine-scale spatial gradient study conducted before and after the implementation of a 5km2 lobster MPA in southern Norway. A significant non-linear response in lobster abundance, estimated as catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) from experimental fishing, was detected within two years of protection. After 4 years, CPUE values inside the MPA had increased by a magnitude of 2.6 compared to before-protection values. CPUE showed a significant non-linear decline from the center of the MPA, with a depression immediately outside the border and a plateau in fished areas. Overall fishing pressure almost doubled over the course of the study. The highest increase in fishing pressure (by a magnitude of 3) was recorded within 1 km of the MPA border, providing a plausible cause for the depression in CPUE. Taken together, these results demonstrate the need to regulate fishing pressure in surrounding areas when MPAs are implemented as fishery management tools.