Classifying Marine Protected Areas

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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a widely used method to protect fisheries, ocean resources, and areas of cultural significance. In recent years, they have garnered increased global support as an effective conservation and management strategy. MPA regulations and management strategies vary widely across the globe and even within MPAs themselves. This project aims to classify MPAs based on fishing gear regulations within MPA zones and examine the relationship between regulations and the surrounding environmental and socioeconomic context. We compiled data on 280 zones in 125 MPAs in 24 countries, classifying MPAs based on their estimated impact of allowed fishing activities. MPA gear regulations varied greatly, with impact scores ranging from 0-9. With these data, we assess the relationships between MPA fishing regulations and the surrounding socio-environmental context. This project has revealed issues of inconsistency in the reporting of MPA fishing regulations between MPAs. This makes it challenging to assess which MPA regulations and management strategies are the most effective at protecting ocean resources. This study underscores the need for a global, streamlined database on MPA fishing regulations to better inform more effective MPA management and data collection methods.





Mancini, Gia (2020). Classifying Marine Protected Areas. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.