MPAs are often promoted as a fisheries management tool, despite theoretical results and practical evidence that shows that often MPAs can only improve fisheries production in extremely poorly managed fisheries. Furthermore decreasing fishery production (e.g. through the introduction of an MPA) will increase demand for production in other food sectors. As wild fisheries are one of the most environmentally friendly food production methods, this shift can result in an overall net increase in environmental impact. This is rarely considered by environmental organisations that lobby for changes across many sectors without considering the trade-offs involved.
This project will kick-start a collaboration that examines production impacts of MPAs and methods for including environmental impacts in fisheries management. These methods will highlight the importance of fisheries in environmentally friendly food production.