Many Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) usually embed a no-take zone, aiming to preserve natural populations and ecosystems, within a buffer zone where potentially sustainable activities are allowed. Small-scale fisheries (SSF) within buffer zones can be highly beneficial by promoting local socio-economies. However, guidelines to successfully manage SSFs within MPAs, ensuring both conservation and fisheries goals, and reaching a win-win scenario, are largely unavailable.
This study reviews information from the peer-reviewed literature, grey-literature and interviews, on ecological, social and economic attributes of SSF in 25 Mediterranean MPAs. The authors identified 5 attributes determining successful SSF management within MPAs, showing that where these attributes are present, fish stocks are healthier, fishermen incomes are higher and the social acceptance of management practices is fostered. The identified attributes are: high MPA enforcement, presence of a management plan, fishermen engagement in MPA management, fishermen representative in the MPA board, and promotion of sustainable fishing. The authors highlight that MPA enforcement was identified as the attribute with highest relative importance, which suggests an important role of enforcement not only in ecology, but also on economic and social aspects.
The authors suggest that the key attributes could prove beneficial to SSF in other geographical locations in the Mediterranean Sea and that the allocation of some public expenditures from current fisheries subsidies to actions aimed at setting key attributes in MPAs will produce substantial ecological, economic and social benefits. It is concluded that the findings of the study are pivotal to Mediterranean coastal communities so they can achieve conservation goals while allowing for profitable exploitation of fisheries resources.
Di Franco A, Thiriet P, Di Carlo G, Dimitriadis C, Francour P, Gutierrez NL, de Grissac AJ, Koutsoubas D, Milazzo M, Otero MD, Piante C, Plass-Johnson J, Sainz-Trapaga S, Santarossa L, Tudela S, Guidetti P (2016) Five key attributes can increase marine protected areas performance for small-scale fisheries management. Scientific Reports 6: 38135