Identifying vulnerable habitats is necessary to designing and prioritizing efficient marine protected areas (MPAs) to sustain the renewal of living marine resources. However, vulnerable habitats rarely become MPAs due to conflicting interests such as fishing. We propose a spatial framework to help researchers and managers determine optimal conservation areas in a multi-species fishery, while also considering the economic relevance these species may have in a given society, even in data poor situations. We first set different ecological criteria (i.e. species resilience, vulnerability and trophic level) to identify optimal areas for conservation and restoration efforts, which was based on a traditional conservationist approach. We then identified the most economically relevant sites, where the bulk of fishery profits come from. We overlapped the ecologically and economically relevant areas using different thresholds. By ranking the level of overlap between the sites, representing different levels of conflicts between traditional conservation and fishing interests, we suggest alternatives that could increase fishers’ acceptance of protected areas. The introduction of some flexibility in the way conservation targets are established could contribute to reaching a middle ground where biological concerns are integrated with economic demands from the fishing sector.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is an important fishery in the Mediterranean Sea; The effectiveness of the current management of Atlantic Tuna is questioned; The stock status, economic benefits, and the amount of jobs generated by the bluefin tuna fishery can be increased markedly with improved management; Solution: implement economic incentive management approaches that are back strongly […]
Fishing takes place in the high seas and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of maritime countries. Closing the former to fishing has recently been proposed in the literature and is currently an issue of debate in various international fora. We determine the degree of overlap between fish caught in these two areas of the ocean, examine how global catch might change if catches of straddling species or taxon groups increase within EEZs as a result of protection of adjacent high seas; and identify countries that are likely to gain or lose in total catch quantity and value following high-seas closure. We find that <0.01% of the quantity and value of commercial fish taxa are obtained from catch taken exclusively in the high seas, and if the catch of straddling taxa increases by 18% on average following closure because of spillover, there would be no loss in global catch. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, would decrease from 0.66 to 0.33. Thus, closing the high seas could be catch-neutral while inequality in the distribution of fisheries benefits among the world’s maritime countries could be reduced by 50%.