Implementation of a small-scale 'no-use zone' policy in a reef ecosystem: Eilat's reef-lagoon six years later

N. Epstein, R. P.M. Bak, B. Rinkevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A small-scale, 'no-use zone policy' has been implemented since 1992 at Eilat's Coral Nature Reserve (Northern Red Sea). Six years later, the status of this closed-to-the-public reef area was compared to two nearby open-to-the-public sites, by evaluating populations of the scleractinian coral Stylophora pistillata in the strolling zone (0.5-1.5 m depth). Results from the open sites show that: (1) Live coral cover was three times lower than at the closed site; (2) numbers of small colonies (recruits) were significantly higher than in the closed site, while numbers of medium and large size colonies (geometric mean radius, r̄ > 4.1 cm) per m2 were significantly lower; (3) maximum r was almost half than that in the closed site (9.6 cm versus 16.7 cm); (4) average number of broken colonies was three times higher than in the closed site; (5) significantly fewer colonies were partially dead. The latter result may reflect senescence processes in the large colonies of the closed site. Although colony breakage is reduced, it appears that the 'no-use zone' policy is not sufficient for protecting small reef areas. The intense exploitation of Eilat's coral reef by the tourist industry requires' in addition to the conventional protective measures, the initiation of novel management solutions such as reef restoration by sexual and asexual recruits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalCoral Reefs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank the sta! of the H. Steinitz Marine Biology Laboratory in Eilat. This study was carried out at the Minerva Center for Marine Invertebrate Immunology and Developmental Biology, and was supported by INCO, H Red Sea Marine Peace Park, and partly by AID-CDR.


  • Conservation
  • Coral Breakage
  • Marine Protected Area
  • Partial Mortality
  • Reef Management
  • Stylophora pistillata

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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