Marie Fujitanimariefujitani

Lab Member Fall 2008 – Spring 2014

Currently Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture

Marine products are an important global commodity as well as a vital source of dietary protein in the developing world. However, an estimated 90% of fish stocks worldwide are being exploited at or beyond sustainable capacity. At the same time, the demand for marine products is steadily rising. Marine reserves are a potentially powerful tool to manage sustainable fisheries. These reserves are areas of ocean where fishing is limited or prohibited. Reserves theoretically allow depleted stocks to recover by protecting breeding populations and allowing fish to mature and grow by giving them a respite from harvest. Reserves have been shown to enhance adjacent fisheries through spillover and larval recruitment. Yet as promising as marine reserves are for conservation, there are currently no standardized protocols for their establishment, management or monitoring.

Marie was a master’s student and later a doctoral candidate at ASU. Her research focused on the Isla San Pedro Martir Biosphere reserve in the Gulf of California, Mexico. The Isla San Pedro Martir is a remote and uniquely rich ecosystem. Once known as the best large grouper fishing in the world, it has been greatly depleted over the years. Some of the island’s nearshore waters are now protected by a no-take no-fishing zone. Marie assessed biophysical indicators of reserve progress by tracking how the number and size of fish have changed over time. She also explored how the creation of the reserve and the actions of reserve managers have impacted regional sport fishers.