The perceptions of Scottish inshore fishers about marine protected areas

Cristina Pita, Ioannis Theodossiou, Graham J. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly used as tools for fishery management and marine ecosystem conservation. MPAs directly impact, and are impacted by, the fishing industry and knowing fishers' attitudes towards MPAs is critical for their success. In general, fishing activity is permitted within the boundaries of MPAs in Scotland but with different levels of restrictions, thus impacting differently on different sectors of the fishing industry. The present study used a questionnaire survey to investigate the attitudes towards closed areas of Scottish inshore fishers operating different gears. The results show that different gear-users expressed significantly different opinions about closed areas as management tools, their ability to protect stocks and decrease conflicts. Furthermore, a logistic model revealed that, besides the gear-type fishers operate, other characteristics (educational level, location and perceptions of compliance) influence fishers' opinions about closed areas. Fishers are not a homogeneous collective and the difference in perceptions about closed areas among Scottish inshore fishers operating different gears has important implications for management. Regarding the important role MPAs will play in the long-term conservation and fisheries management plans in Europe, understanding the variability in fishers' attitudes within the same, and between different, groups will facilitate successful planning and management of MPAs. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • closed areas
  • inshore fishers
  • marine protected areas
  • opinions
  • perceptions


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