Striking a balance: marine conservation versus economic needs

  • Britain’s Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area was created with the intention of balancing conservation with the economic needs of fishermen by zoning the park to allow particular types of harvesting in designated parts of the protected area. A similar model exists in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with zones such as general use, scientific research and preservation.
  • However it seems that in Lyme Bay, conservation may be losing out with closed areas resulting in double the fishing pressure using certain techniques in the restricted parts of the bay.
  • Economic impacts are also being felt with declining fish stocks in areas adjacent to the park, threatening the livelihood of fishermen from nearby ports.
  • It is hoped that a collaborative working group composed of groups such as fishermen, scientists and regulators will result in more sustainable fishing practices being adopted to achieve the balance that the marine protected area was created to achieve.

The unexpected negative affects seen in the Lyme Bay Marine Protected Area may prove useful in guiding future marine conservation planning and consultation of affected parties to enable broader thinking about how to overcome the conflict between conservation and meeting economic needs in the marine environment

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About annaarathe

Research fellow, horizon scanning
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