Fishers' perceptions as indicators of the performance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

Type Article
Date 2012-03
Language English
Author(s) Leleu Kevin1, 2, 3, Alban Frederique4, Pelletier DominiqueORCID1, 5, Charbonnel Eric3, Letourneur Yves6, Boudouresque Charles F.2
Affiliation(s) 1 : IFREMER Brest, F-29280 Plouzane, France.
2 : Univ Mediterranean, Mediterranean Inst Oceanog, F-13288 Marseille, France.
3 : Observ Plage Rouet, F-13620 Carry Le Rouet, France.
4 : Univ Brest, UEB, UMR AMURE, F-29238 Brest 3, France.
5 : IFREMER, Nouvelle Caledonie, Noumea 98845, New Caledonia.
6 : Univ Nouvelle Caledonie, Lab LIVE, Noumea 98851, New Caledonia.
Source Marine Policy (0308-597X) (Elsevier), 2012-03 , Vol. 36 , N. 2 , P. 414-422
DOI 10.1016/j.marpol.2011.06.002
WOS© Times Cited 63
Keyword(s) Artisanal fishery, Fishers' perceptions, Social acceptance, No-take zone, MPA performance
Abstract How users perceive the performance of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is fundamental for the social acceptance of these zones. Moreover, their perceptions may be relevant for monitoring the effects of MPAs on extractive activities. This study analyzes artisanal fishers' perceptions of the performance of a north-western Mediterranean coastal MPA, which encompasses two no-take zones (NTZs). Three viewpoints have been considered: the effect on the personal activity of fishers, the effect on the local fishery and the effect on the ecosystem. In order to test the hypothesis that biomass export (spillover) - which had previously been evidenced from the two NTZs - may influence fishers' perceptions of NTZ effects, fishers' perceptions were compared with both declared and observed fishing activity over an one-year period. The results show that negative perceptions of NTZs are either nil or are negligible. Most fishers are aware of the beneficial effects of NTZs on ecosystems and fisheries. However, they remain to be convinced of the beneficial effects of the NTZs on their own activity. For instance, the proximity of a NTZ appears never to be involved in the choice of a fishing spot. This partial lack of correspondence between scientific expectation and fishers' perceptions is discussed in the light of fishing habits in the zone adjacent to NTZs, and takes into account fishing grounds, targeted species and seniority (defined as the number of years the fisher has been fishing within the MPA). All three factors appear to influence fishers' perceptions. For example, having a positive perception about a NTZ and spending more time fishing in the adjacent zone are habits that can be associated with fishers with less seniority. Fishers' perceptions obviously indicate the social acceptance of the MPA and are an essential monitoring tool for MPA managers. However, perceptions cannot be seen as a substitute for scientific monitoring, as both approaches are clearly complementary. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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