The role of MPAs in reconciling fisheries management with conservation of biological diversity



Publication Details

J. Rice, E. Moksness, C. Attwood, S. Brown, G. Dahle, K. Gjerde, E. Grefsrud, R. Kenchington, A. Kleiven, P. Mcconney, M. Ngoile, T. Naesje, E. Olsen, E. Olsen, J. Sanders, C. Sharma, O. Vestergaard and L. Westlund, 'The role of MPAs in reconciling fisheries management with conservation of biological diversity' (2012) 69 Ocean and Coastal Management 217-230.


A workshop of over 100 participants, balanced between fisheries management and biodiversity conservation backgrounds, reviewed and synthesised experiences regarding policy and institutional frameworks for use of MPAs in the contexts of fisheries management and conservation of biological diversity. The workshop concluded that although fisheries managers and biodiversity conservation agencies may give differing and sometimes opposing weights to the many objectives that could be set for MPAs, only 25% of fisheries objectives and 30% of biodiversity objectives were considered to be potential sources of conflict. MPAs that segregate activities in space could contribute to resolving all but one of the potential conflicts over objectives associated with desired ecological outcomes. Conflicts over social or economic objectives could be improved, made worse, or not be affected by MPAs, depending on how the MPAs were developed and managed. Seven features of planning processes and six features of the governance processes for MPAs were identified that could help find broadly supported solutions to the conflicts that did occur. Once established, the management of the MPA should be inclusive and participatory, as well as continuously learning and adaptive. Approaches to ensure management had those properties were identified, including twelve specific mechanisms that should be available to the MPA managers. On the basis of these conclusions about objectives, planning, and management, a general framework for the governance of MPAs for both fisheries and biodiversity conservation was developed. Its ten general characteristics and twelve steps necessary for progress were identified. We discuss the special challenges of establishing and managing MPAs for fisheries and biodiversity conservation on the high seas that deserve further attention include information-sharing, coordination and defining jurisdictions and stake-holding.

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