The socio-economic impact of Marine Protected Areas in Jersey: A fishers’ perspective
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are advocated as tools to support sustainable fisheries and biodiversity by excluding the most destructive fishing practices. Some MPAs protect the whole-site of habitat mosaics from bottom-towed fishing but most only restrict damaging activities from specific evidenced conservation features. Social and economic factors influence the success of an MPA but the impact of spatial management changes to local fisheries is rarely captured in post MPA designation monitoring. In Jersey, Channel Islands, two offshore MPAs were designated in 2017 that are managed following the whole-site approach. This study provides an insight into the overall economic importance of key fishery species (whelk (Buccinum undatum), brown crab (Cancer pagurus), scallop (Pecten maximus), lobster (Homarus gammarus), and spider crab (Maja brachydactyla) to local fishing fleets and the impact of the MPAs on local, small-scale fishers in Jersey. Total landings (kg and £) in Jersey pre and post MPA designation were calculated from logbook and primary sales data and a structured interview was developed and tested as a research tool to document the impact (positive and negative) of the MPA designation on local fishers. Specific questions were designed to elicit both quantitative and qualitative data relating to the participants (n = 21) fishing activity; support for the MPAs; income and job satisfaction; subjective well-being and current sales strategies. The results demonstrate that one mobile gear vessel respondent was displaced from traditional fishing grounds as a result of the MPA designation. Fishers also reported an increase in static fishing inside the MPAs, post designation. Generally, there are high levels of support for the MPA from static fleet respondents. In the first year since designation there have been no reported changes to catch (kg, £). Mobile gear fishers reported a lower subjective wellbeing and satisfaction with their job and income than static gear fishers, despite greater profits. The major concern reported by the mobile fleet that contributed to their stress levels, was not attributed to the MPA designations but related to conflict with French static net fisheries operating outside of the MPAs. Ongoing support for Jersey's fishers and securing a sustainable and fulfilling livelihood will require further spatial management of fisheries outside of the MPAs with a possibility of setting gear or effort limits on static fishereis within the MPAs.
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