Marine Reserves, the Public Trust Doctrine and Intergenerational Equity

8 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2007

See all articles by Donna R. Christie

Donna R. Christie

Florida State University - College of Law


Evidence has piled up to support the proposition that marine reserves increase biomass of overfished stocks. But marine reserves can also perform other services to complement an ecosystem-based approach to management. Research on many marine reserves is showing a spillover effect in abundance of fish in adjacent areas. Designation of marine reserves protects some habitat from the direct effects of fishing and provides areas for recovery and restoration. Marine reserves provide baseline information on habitat to help distinguish natural variability from user impacts. Reserves can serve as experimental sites for ecosystem restoration and studying processes that may be operable throughout an ecosystem or region. Finally, a reserve may provide insurance against excessive exploitation in light of scientific indeterminacy and management uncertainty, and assure the survival of the ecosystem for future generations.

Suggested Citation

Christie, Donna R., Marine Reserves, the Public Trust Doctrine and Intergenerational Equity. Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law, Vol. 19, p. 427, 2004, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 253, Available at SSRN:

Donna R. Christie (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

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