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Marine nature conservation and conflicts with fisheries

Kjell Grip and Sven Blomqvist
Marine Spatial Planning

Conflicts caused by different interests of marine conservation initiatives and fisheries are increasing around the globe, and many times a lack of dialogue plays an important role in these conflicts. Therefore, an improved coordination between fishery and marine conservation authorities during marine protected area (MPA) establishment processes is of great importance. This paper proposes that an impartial and broad ecosystem-based marine spatial planning procedure is an suitable tool to improve the coordination between the different stakeholders. Whereas strategic environmental assessments are frequently used for reviewing the impact of different human activities on the environment, they are rarely used for the evaluation of environmental effects of capture fisheries. Around the globe, fisheries form a diverse sector and the severe environmental impact of some fisheries argue for the introduction of these procedures to the currently used fisheries assessment tools, which enables integrating relevant information in marine spatial planning processes. An MPA designed as a fisheries resource management tool has a different objective than an MPA that is primarily established  to protect ecosystems, meaning that the legal procedure for MPA establishment processes should adapt to these objectives. It is also argued that MPAs with the highest protection rate that are established for marine conservation purposes, should primarily be established as fully protected MPAs.