The establishment of marine protected areas is often viewed as a conflict between conservation and fishing. A new study in the journal Conservation Biology, shows that involving all the different groups of people affected by the protection zone early in the planning stage will more effectively protect the environment than ignoring detractors concerns.

The researchers considered the interests of divers, fishermen, scientists, conservationists, administrators and so on, in the design of of a network of marine protected areas along California’s central coast. Representatives of these groups set conservation and economic goals.

Protected areas designed with consideration of commercial and recreational fisheries reduced potential impact to the fisheries approximately 21% more than protected areas designed without consideration of fishing effort whilst at the same time resulting in a small increase in the total area protected (approximately 3.4%).

Journal Reference: Conserv Biol. 2008 Jun;22(3):691-700.

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