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Marine protected areas: Interactions with fishery livelihoods and food security

Lena Westlund, Anthony Charles, Serge M. Garcia and  Jessica Sanders


Building on work presented at the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) held in Sydney,Australia, on 12–19 November 2014, this document explores experiences with aquatic protected areas (PAs), marine protected areas (MPAs) and protected areas in inland waters in the context of livelihoods and food security. It includes: (i) ten papers reporting on the interface of MPA/protected areas with livelihoods and food security, based oncase studies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania; (ii) an eleventh contribution providing a more general overview of MPAs and food security and how to assess their impact; and (iii) a final paper synthesizing the conclusions of the papers and discussing the observed outcomes of aquatic PAs, together with problems and solutions.

The document’s contributions recognize that the assessment of impacts of aquatic PAs on fisheries livelihoods and food security meets with difficulties related to: the newness of the issue in the context of aquatic PAs; compounding effects of external drivers; monitoring costs; lack of empirical evidence and deficient experimental designs; and lack of systematic ex ante and ex post assessments. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify certain key problem areas, associated with the distribution of costs and benefits, the high degree of dependence of fishing communities, the highly dynamic patterns of evolution of the general context of both the fisheries and the aquatic PAs concerned, the difficulty and cost of enforcement, and commonly recurrent financing difficulties. The positive outcomes observed in the case studies presented here relate to improved social cohesion and participation, conservation and incomes, but concerns are also expressed about a lack of attainment of expected outcomes. It is stressed that no generalizationon the efficacy of aquatic PAs in supporting livelihoods is possible. Direct measures of impact on food security and poverty are not available. Numerous elements to address the problem are proposed relating to: (i) dedicated policies; (ii) clearer and more comprehensive objectives; (iii) community participation; (iv) communication between stakeholders; (v) building capacity to collaborate effectively; (vi) incorporating a mix of technical and structural measures; (vii) use of traditional knowledge; (viii) systematic recording of empirical evidence; and (ix) compensation, alternative livelihoods and income-generating activities.

URL: http://www.fao.org/fishery/publications/technical-papers/en

Courtesy: FAO

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