Have you ever wondered where the fish you eat comes from? Many fisheries all over the world are declining and need protection. But it is hard. Fishery species don’t stay in one place. In fact, many fishery species use many habitats over their lifetime. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can help protect marine ecosystems and fisheries. They can restrict fishing or ban harmful fishing equipment.
We wanted to understand the role that MPAs and different habitats have in supporting fisheries. So we looked at data from fisheries in Jersey and France. We found that subtidal sediments were the most valuable habitats. Yet they were the least protected by MPAs. We also found that different species were protected to varying degrees depending on the habitats they relied on. It will be important to consider species habitat use when designing management plans for fisheries in the future.