Photo provided by Meira Mizrahi

Photo provided by Meira Mizrahi

improving Impacts of Marine Protected Areas by using socioeconomic factors in placement decisions

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are one of the most widely accepted methods of marine management. MPAs are not, however, always placed in areas in which they can maximise impact on conservation and livelihoods. Current MPA guidelines fall short in that they focus primarily on biophysical criteria for impact, with less consideration of interrelated socio-economic factors. This project aims to identify the socio-economic factors that influence effective placement of MPAs in terms of maximising impact, and investigate the influence that governance and other socio-political drivers have on placement choice. A portion of my project is nested in the Maximizing Outcomes for Shark and Ray MPAs project (see previous). In addition to identifying social factors to incorporate into the global model to evaluate shark and ray MPA effectiveness, we specifically look to Myanmar’s Myeik Archipelago as a case study, and use sharks and rays as indicator species to understand social determinants of MPA impact at the local level. The outputs of this research will help MPA decision makers, and shark conservationists make post-hoc assessments about whether existing MPAs are likely to have impact, and act as a framework help guide the planning of future MPAs.

Principal Investigator: Meira Mizrahi supervised by Amy Diedrich, Stephanie Duce, Rebecca Weeks, and Bob Pressey           

Collaborators: Fauna and Flora International, Myeik University

Funding: Shark Conservation Fund, James Cook University Scholarship Scheme.