Marine Fishing Reserves: a formula for recovery and sustainable development for fishing

Regarding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, it seeks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. In addition to scientific knowledge, there are several mechanisms that allow available resources to be used at levels that guarantee their maintenance capacity in sufficient conditions for successive generations.

One of these mechanisms is the Marine Reserves of Fishing Interest that have completed now 34 years of existence in Spain. In Spain, the Marine Reserve Network is made up of 11 fishing reserves (8 in the Mediterranean Sea and 3 in the Canary Islands).

Marine reserves are protected areas according to Spanish fisheries legislation, whose main objective is the regeneration of fishery resources and the maintenance of traditional artisanal fisheries in the area. Its creation must be requested by the fishing sector, and its support and involvement is the basis for protecting these areas based on the consensus of the traditional users.

The management of marine reserves must meet a series of clear criteria. Firstly, a zoning that establishes the limits of the reserve—always with a scientific study and prior characterization—is needed. Marine reserves must allow zoning within it and the corresponding definition of the permitted uses in each of those areas. Currently, they are an example of coexistence between different actors with different uses of the sea: professional fishers (establishing censuses and allowed gear), recreational fishers (also with precise definitions), and the practice of recreational activities (always under responsibility and where responsible recreational diving stands out, for which pioneering criteria have been established at the international level).