Protecting fish and fishermen: a video about California marine reserves

How should we protect the marine ecosystems we love to see and the fish we love to eat? Learn something about the debate on marine reserves.

I just watched this short video on the NY Times that is a good little snapshot of the challenges of no-take marine reserves that conservationists argue are necessary for ecosystem restoration. It’s about new protection of the California coast so it is especially close to my heart because that’s where I grew up and my childhood experiences of poking sea anemones in the tidepools and learning about kelp forests were instrumental in making me a conservationist.

Watch the video – it’s only six minutes and it is well done!

Conservation typically can take one of two forms: protect an area or protect a species. Obviously it then gets much more complicated (for example,
you might want to protect a time of year, such as a breeding season) but two of the pillars of conservation are ecosystem protection through protected areas and species protection. It’s therefore worth thinking about the pros and cons of protecting fish through marine reserves versus catch restrictions or size limits. What is the best approach to ensure that we still have fish in the sea and fishermen still have jobs?


(More videos: Another NY Times video related to fishing. All the NYTimes videos tagged as environment.)


2 Replies to “Protecting fish and fishermen: a video about California marine reserves”

  1. Good video. The encouraging news was in the 2nd half of the video: the news about how other reserves further north in California are stimulating the return of marine life populations, and examples of other ways to earn a living from the sea, rather than extractive fishing: dive schools, whale watching, etc.In the beginning of the video, I would have liked to hear evidence to support or refute the lobsterman’s contention that he was working sustainably.

    1. I agree – our natural empathic response when we hear of the hardships the fishermen are facing is to give them the benefit of the doubt. We want to think they are doing something sustainable, but these days anyone can say they are fishing/living/shopping sustainably.And yes, there is good news about marine reserves! They really do help. Here are two cool websites about protected areas: and

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