An overview of commercial fishers' attitudes towards marine protected areas

Cristina Pita, Graham J. Pierce, Ioannis Theodossiou, Karen Macpherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are attracting widespread attention worldwide as a tool for fishery management and marine ecosystem conservation. The establishment of MPAs has increased greatly in recent years mostly due to international commitments to the establishment of a global network of MPAs by 2012. MPAs have the potential to strongly affect the fishing industry, and their success depends, at least partly, on fishers' attitudes towards this management measure. However, research on MPAs tends to focus on the ecological and conservation aspects of this management approach and not on its human dimensions. Studies in attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and preferences related to MPA issues have been identified as priority social science topics in need of research. We present a 'rapid review', conducted systematically, of the literature published up to September 2009 and aimed at identifying the most investigated topics related to commercial fishers' attitudes towards MPAs, describing the main findings from these studies, and analysing the implications for management. Most published work focuses on fishers' attitudes towards issues of governance, conservation of biodiversity and the environment, and the impact of MPAs on fishing activity. Despite the recent increase in the literature on the human dimensions of MPAs, the present review reveals that little of this literature originates from empirical studies. Hence, given the forthcoming increase in the implementation of MPAs in the near future, research on fishers' attitudes towards these management measures is critically needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Fishers
  • Rapid review
  • Systematic
  • Marine protected areas
  • Attitudes
  • Perceptions
  • Beliefs
  • Full Systematic Reviews
  • Artisanal fishers
  • Conservation benefits
  • World fisheries
  • Resource Users
  • Managment
  • Reserves
  • Park
  • MPA


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