Tuesday February 27, 2024


With fish stocks declining globally, more than 190 countries recently made a commitment to protect about a third of the world’s oceans within “Marine Protected Areas,” or MPAs by the year 2030. But these designated areas of the ocean where fishing is either regulated or outright banned can come at a huge cost to some coastal communities, according to a new analysis.

To help prepare for the expansion of MPAs, an international team of researchers from Duke University, Florida State University, World Wildlife Fund and other organizations assembled a global dataset of over 14,000 fish surveys in and around 216 marine protected areas (MPA) in 43 countries to determine what works and why.

Their analysis appears the week of Feb. 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that no-take MPAs are the most effective in restoring fish populations in heavily affected areas. However, for coastal communities who depend on fishing for food, income, and important cultural/Indigenous practices, the new study suggests there may be other effective options.

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