This study assessed the interactions of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and a No-Take Zone (NTZ) in Lamlash Bay, the Isle of Arran, Scotland, in the recovery of the commercially valuable king scallop (Pecten maximus). Changes in abundance, size and reproductive potential in king scallops were assessed over time. This research built on data collected by annual dive surveys from 2010-2015.
Now, after ten years of the NTZ being in place (2008), and three years since the MPA was designated (2016), new data were collected in 2019 to compare the differences in densities and population structure.
With a reduction in fishing pressure in the MPA and NTZ, scallop populations have been able to recover and grow to larger sizes. With increased size, scallops have larger gonads, thus more gametes are released in spawning seasons. This suggests protected areas are a key tool for implementing ecosystem-based management, which is important for the recovery of benthic species. If properly monitored and managed, this method can also provide a contribution to fishery landings from larvae exports to surrounding areas.