The South Arran marine protected area (MPA) on the West coast of Scotland contains one of only three no-take zones within the UK and has strict management plans for zonation within the MPA. Two years on from it’s formation, this study looks to use baited remote underwater surveys to investigate the fish assemblage and biodiversity within the MPA.
Biodiversity showed no obvious pattern in spatial variability; however, biodiversity was higher in kelp habitat and in areas of greater kelp coverage. Kelp was also found to be particularly important for wrasse, a group of species which are subject to growing pressure from fisheries for use in aquaculture. 3D complexity was also found to have a significant effect on fish diversity in the MPA, which is aligned with the objectives put forward to protect benthic structure. Given the importance of kelp habitat for fish diversity presented here, further study and protection should be afforded to it around the UK, especially in light of growing pressure to harvest this resource.
2018 Jones, I. Investigating spatial trends in biodiversity around the South Arran MPA.