A guide to evaluate the effectiveness of no-take marine reserves in Mexico


This guidebook was created as part of the Master’s thesis at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, a graduate professional school at the University of California, Santa Barbara . The Master’s thesis consists of a project proposed by an organization that is willing to work with a group of students that seeks to solve a real environmental problem. At the request of Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI), a Mexican Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that promotes marine conservation through community engagement, this guidebook was created as a practical tool for users (fishermen, field technicians, etc.) to understand the degree to which management actions have achieved the stated biophysical, socioeconomic, and governance goals and objectives of each no-take marine reserve. It also provides recommendations for improvement of no-take marine reserves based on results of analysis. This guidebook is the result of a collaboration between COBI and the group TURFeffect, a group consisting of four Master’s students: Juan Carlos Villaseñor-Derbez, Caio Faro, Jael Martinez and Melaina Wright. These students were supported by their faculty advisor Dr. Christopher Costello, external advisors Dr. Fiorenza Micheli, Gavin McDonald and Mar Mancha, and PhD mentor Sean Fitzgerald. Visit turfeffect.org for more information about the group. Although this guidebook and the Marine Reserve Evaluation App (MAREA) could potentially help to evaluate the effectiveness of no-take marine reserves around the world, it is important to keep in mind that this guidebook was created to evaluate the effectiveness of no-take marine reserves are in Mexico. Therefore, its evaluation methodology reflects the needs of Mexican fishing communities and is not intended to be a definitive set of instructions. Nevertheless, we believe the guidebook has been built in a way that can be used in other places to accomplish the same end results.