Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly used to address multiple marine management needs, and the incorporation of stakeholders into the MPA planning and designation processes is considered vital for success. Commercial fishers are often the stakeholder group most directly affected by spatial restrictions associated with MPAs, and the success of MPAs often depends, at least in part, on the behaviours and attitudes of fishers. MPA planning processes that incorporate fishers, and minimize the negative impact of MPA designation on the fishing community, should therefore have a greater chance of success. Here, the incorporation of both quantitative and qualitative fisher-derived data in MPA planning is investigated using strategic conservation planning software and multi-scenario analysis. We demonstrate the use of spatial access priority data as a cost layer, and suggest a process for incorporating fishers' MPA suggestions into planning scenarios in a transparent, but flexible, way. Results show that incorporating fisher-derived data, both quantitative and qualitative, can significantly reduce the cost of MPA planning solutions: enabling the development of MPA network designs that meet conservation targets with less detrimental impact to fishing community. Incorporating fishers and fisher-derived data in MPA planning processes can improve both the efficiency and defensibility of planning outcomes, as well as contribute to reducing potential conflicts between biodiversity conservation and the fishing industry.
- Biodiversity conservation
- fisheries management
- marine spatial planning
- participatory planning
- spatial access priority mapping