Action: Designate a Marine Protected Area without setting management measures, usage restrictions, or enforcement
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects of designating a Marine Protected Area without setting management measures, usage restrictions, or enforcement on subtidal benthic invertebrate populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Fishing can impact subtidal benthic invertebrates through species removal or habitat damage from fishing gear entering in contact with the seabed (Collie et al. 2000). Specific areas can be designated as protected, but often these are set without any clear management measures or usage restrictions in place, or enough enforcement (Guidetti et al. 2008). Inside such protected areas, it is unclear which activities and pressures are taking place, and if subtidal benthic invertebrates are able to naturally recover. While such areas, often referred to as “paper parks” (Rife et al. 2013), do exist, they are not recommended by the scientific community, and it is advised to always set clear management plans, objectives, and enforcement for marine protected areas (Di Minin & Toivonen 2015; Jones & De Santo 2016; Rife et al. 2013).
Collie J.S., Hall S.J., Kaiser M.J. & Poiner I.R. (2000) A quantitative analysis of fishing impacts on shelf‐sea benthos. Journal of Animal Ecology, 69, 785–798.
Di Minin E. & Toivonen T. (2015) Global protected area expansion: creating more than paper parks. BioScience, 65, 637–638.
Guidetti P., Milazzo M., Bussotti S., Molinari A., Murenu M., Pais A., Spano N., Balzano R., Agardy T., Boero F. & Carrada G. (2008) Italian marine reserve effectiveness: does enforcement matter? Biological Conservation, 141, 699–709.
Jones P.J. & De Santo E.M. (2016) Viewpoint–Is the race for remote, very large marine protected areas (VLMPAs) taking us down the wrong track? Marine Policy, 73, 231–234.
Rife A.N., Erisman B., Sanchez A. & Aburto‐Oropeza O. (2013) When good intentions are not enough… Insights on networks of “paper park” marine protected areas. Conservation Letters, 6, 200–212.