he contribution that a small restocking area (central western Mediterranean) has made to the Palinurus elephas (Fabr., 1787) population was examined by comparing the abundances recorded inside and outside the area before (1997) and after the establishment of the reserve (1998-2005). From 1998 to 2002 a progressive percentage increase of P. elephas biomass values was recorded both inside the area and in the surrounding zones. The total mean abundance within the reserve (CPUE = 0.23 ± 0.10 kg/50 m/boat) was 7.5 times greater than that for the neighbouring zone (CPUE = 0.03 ± 0.07 kg/50 m/boat). The inter-annual analysis of lobster size inside the area also showed a progressive increase of adults and juveniles. The results highlighted the effectiveness of fishing restrictions in rebuilding the lobsters population and suggest that small MPAs should be set up
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