Marine reserve placement must account for the importance of places for resource use to minimize negative socioeconomic impacts and improve compliance. It is often assumed that placing marine reserves in locations that minimize lost fishing opportunities will reduce impacts on coastal communities, but the influence of the fishing data used on this outcome remains poorly understood.

In the Madang Lagoon (Papua New Guinea), Melanie and colleagues from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the French Research Institute for Development, and the University of Exeter compared three types of proxies for conservation costs to local fishing communities. They developed two types of proxies of opportunity costs commonly used in marine conservation planning: current fishing activity with fisher surveys and proximity from shore. They also developed proxies based on areas of importance for fishing as perceived by surveyed households.

Although all proxies led to different configurations of potential marine reserves, the three types of cost data reflect different aspects of importance for fishing and should be used as complementary measures.

The paper is available with open access:

Hamel, M. A., Pressey, R. L., Evans, L. S. and Andréfouët, S. (2017), The Importance of Fishing Grounds as Perceived by Local Communities Can be Undervalued by Measures of Socioeconomic Cost Used in Conservation Planning. CONSERVATION LETTERS. doi:10.1111/conl.12352

For more information, contact Dr Melanie Hamel.

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