Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

The multiple values attained through partially-protected areas (#33)

Genevieve Phillips 1 , Nils Krueck 1 , Emily Ogier 1 , Neville Barrett 1 , Ian Dutton 2 , Klaas Hartmann 1
  1. Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, West Hobart, TAS, Australia
  2. Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Preserving areas of natural habitat and reducing destructive activities within the ocean is important to protect the world’s biodiversity. No-take MPAs are aimed at limiting a reduction in biodiversity in the oceans, act as a valuable scientific reference area, and can provide sources of productivity to wild fisheries, thereby increasing social and economic benefits to a particular region. However, no-take MPAs can be costly to maintain and negatively impact extractive industries, including fisheries. Consequently, there is growing interest in the benefits associated with partial protection from human activities extractive activities while allowing tourism-based activities like diving, snorkelling, and low-impact fishing.  

Worldwide, there is a considerable lack of quantitative evidence on the potential benefits of partially protected areas (PPAs). One of the reasons for this is the lack of consistent terminology and definition of a ‘partially protected’ MPA, and the wide range of protection levels this phrase covers. This year, “The MPA Guide” was released: a comprehensive document outlining standardised definitions to be used in MPAs worldwide. 

This project aims to classify MPAs within Australia according to the clear guidelines within The MPA Guide and investigate the benefits of partially protected MPAs through a systematic literature review. The review will outline the types and forms of partial protection available, and the factors affecting the likelihood of attaining mutually beneficial outcomes for all users. 

The project will utilise ecological and sociological datasets, as well as commercial and recreational fisheries data to fully understand the gamut of partial protection in Australia’s marine landscape. The project will develop, in consultation with marine resource managers, clear, easy-to-understand advice and information, and a quantitative decision-support tool. These tools will allow resource managers to make informed decisions on implementation of PPAs to manage important marine areas within areas of high natural value in Australia.