Fisheries Economics & Policy: Marine Protected Areas

Fisheries Economics & Policy: Marine Protected Areas


a marine protected area is an area of the ocean or a lake I guess where activity is restricted in some way it can just be restrictions on fishing a few species of fish restrictions on certain types of gear restrictions on diving or it can restrict everything even traveling along the surface it can be year-round or temporary maybe just protecting certain areas from damaging gear during the mating seasons of certain species or something marine protected areas sort of apply to a lot of things but the idea behind them is to protect the contents of an area from the humans that can degrade it but the benefits can be greater than that a study of 124 different marine protected areas around the world found that within the area on average the fish biomass increased by four to five times the fish were also older and larger their length or width increased by an average of 25% the density of the fish and the number of different species also increased but the benefits also spread to the area outside again on average for the areas they looked at there was an increase in biomass from zero to 200% but there didn’t seem to be a significant increase in the average size or diversity outside the area a protected area can help Coral to fish will eat the micro algae that coral has to compete with so by protecting the fish and preventing other disturbances it makes the reef more resilient to stresses and increases coral cover the benefits maybe shouldn’t really come as a surprise take away us the top predator or greatest disturber and the creatures are free to grow to resilient and productive sizes since older and larger fish tend to lay more eggs and healthier eggs than the younger smaller fish there’s a lot of diversity to marine protected areas and a lot of things to consider you know you could probably study them all day so if we’re here let’s keep it very simple and just look at a few of the factors that might go into the planning of let’s say a no fishing zone used to try to help the fishing industry the idea being create an area where fish are free to grow and breed and they will spill over into the fishable areas and increase the fishermen’s catches in revenue this isn’t the most common kind of marine protected area it’s just a simple one to try to get thinking about design characteristics because a no-take zone would be taking away fishable area its creation is directly in competition with its desired effect setting aside a chunk of ocean might increase the growth of the fish inside and outside but at the same time might be decreasing the fishermen’s catches because they’ve lost fishing space you know there’s less fish overall in the space that they’re allowed to fish so when creating a no-take zone to benefit fishermen the initial conditions are important to consider benefits to fishermen’s revenue happen mostly when a fishery is in a really bad way from overfishing it’s here where fish desperately need relief from human activity and a no-take zone can have those spillover effects to the extent that they’re actually increasing the fishermen’s catches despite the lost space but there are other benefits it the fishery isn’t managed very well than a no-take zone while not increasing revenue might act as a safety net preventing a collapse at any rate after the marine protected area is set up the new total quota or total allowable catch should consider the no-take zones effect on the ecology of the area it may increase or decrease the total allowable catch depending on what’s going on the benefits are also dependent on how far the species Candice first from that area some species of fish may disperse very quickly and concede other areas by migration or seeds drift while certain benthic organisms may disperse much slower and can only really create better fishing spots at the edges of the area in general the larger the movement or dispersal of the species the larger the marine protected area needs to be to be able to protect them throughout their life the areas that end up being protected should be self-sustaining for the species for example if one area has been identified as being the place where fish go to lay eggs you may want to protect that area from any fishing or damaging activities to reduce damage to the fish when they are vulnerable the spot is important and should be protected but it may not be where the fish grow up it may not be a source of food for the population the fish need to be protected where they’re going to be during their life so that they can reach those larger sizes and have a bigger effect on the productivity of the fish so you can set up multiple areas or networks of areas where the fish can travel between at different stages of their life such that the areas that are protected can persist regardless of how much fishing is going on outside depending on the species the edges around a marine protected area may end up being the most productive fishable areas that attract fishermen maybe this is the whole point and it’s what you want but to minimize this effect the area should be a circle because a circle has the largest area for the smallest perimeter it gives the fish the largest area with as few fishing opportunities around it by contrast let’s say we protect the same amount of area but it has a weird shape and the perimeter is huge the fishermen can get all in between and the benefits will be missed completely but at the end of the day whether it’s a circle or square or lumpy oblong doesn’t really make a huge difference making sure you’ve captured the habitat and making sure monitors can recognize the area is much more important this is all stuff that affects the fisherman’s revenue but we need to think about their costs too if a no-take zone is set up close to shore or in an old fishing spot that the fishermen know which will tend to be the exploited areas they’re going to have to spend time traveling farther and use more fuel in search of new places to fish it’s going to increase their search costs the fisherman will also have new costs if there are restrictions on the type of gear used like restricting bottom trawl nets or drift nets or new restrictions on net size and setting up a restricted area will come with new monitoring costs biological assessment costs and enforcement costs anyways all marine protected areas are going to have a lot of considerations and the most successful and beneficial ones will be the ones where all the players are included in the decision-making so they know the purpose of the area and how it will affect them and they can give their input in the next video we’re going to look at giving the fishermen the rights to an area and letting them manage it

1 thought on “Fisheries Economics & Policy: Marine Protected Areas

  1. When you mention the study that found Biomass inside MPAs to be greater than outside (time –0:45 ish), what is the reference for that? What paper was it? I am doing MPA modeling research and I would love to include the study's findings in my introduction. Thank you!

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