Just add water: New paper sheds light on estuarine marine reserves


A new scientific paper released this month seeks to evaluate estuarine marine reserves in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, shedding light on the ability of protected areas to support healthy populations of harvested fish species.

Healthy Land and Water scientists worked with experts from the University of the Sunshine Coast to understand how nature reserves can be better placed in our estuarine marine environment to enhance fish biodiversity.

The paper titled Enhancing the performance of marine reserves in estuaries: Just add water was published in the journal Biological Conservation. It argues that the effectiveness of reserves can be improved by conserving deeper estuaries, with diverse habitats for fish and strong connections to the open sea.

Principle scientist at Healthy Land and Water Dr Paul Maxwell said estuarine reserves in the Moreton Bay Marine Park may be located in areas of low habitat value and hence have not significantly increased the abundance of harvested fish species.

“While the benefits of marine reserves for enhancing fish stocks are well documented, the performance of estuarine reserves in the Moreton Bay Marine Park has been limited because they’ve been located to protect unique spatial features, or to conserve narrow estuaries with weak connections to mangroves and the open sea,” Dr Maxwell said.

“This research really highlights the fundamental biological truth that reserves seeking to enhance fish must contain plenty of water. This means deeper channels and easy access to the ocean.”

South East Queensland contains a large diversity of estuarine fish species that underpin a vibrant recreational and commercial fishing sector but these fish communities are under pressure due to loss of estuarine habitat.

Download the paper here

Popular Stories

Healthy Land and Water 2018: A year in review

Explore News
2018 HAS been a momentous 12 months for Healthy Land and Water; a year filled with success and progress as we continue our mission to improve and protect South East Queensland's…

New $25,000 litter program launched in Caboolture River

Explore News
A car tyre, election signs, chairs, fishing equipment, eskies and three large bags of rubbish were plucked from the Caboolture River during day one of a new waterway litter removal…

Second stage of shellfish restoration project launched

Explore News
A project to restore the once magnificent shellfish beds of the Pumicestone Passage has been enhanced with more artificial reef structures of recycled shell being installed off Kakadu Beach. Shellfish…

Get in touch

Healthy Land and Water is dedicated to the care of our unique and beautiful land, waterways and biodiversity.

  • Address: Level 19, 160 Ann Street Brisbane QLD 4000
  • PO Box: 13204, George Street Brisbane QLD 4003
  • Phone: (07) 3177 9100
  • Fax: (07) 3177 9190
  • Email: info@hlw.org.au

We won't ever sell or rent your information. Read our Privacy Policy.