Time and time again, the opposite has proven to be true. By defining a potentially productive area fish-wise as off limits to commercial fishing, then the resident populations are given a chance to recover. And, as fish do not recognize man-made boundaries, the inevitable spillover supplies the fishery with a catch sufficient to sustain the business.
"This bounty not only directly improved the livelihoods of local communities, it revitalized the regional economy as well, bringing with it the expansion of services like electricity and secondary education — services to which many in the region had never before had access. These positive changes also led to new, more sustainable opportunities in tourism, now the primary source of income in the region."
The Abrolhos Seascape coral reefs and shoreline mangroves were suffering from illegal fishing and destructive aquaculture practices. Organizations like Conservation International have the scientific and research resources to assist governments in determining both the extent of the problem and how best to deal with it. This is the beauty of large organizations that can support and influence ocean management policy through more than just words, thereby becoming real instruments of change.
At nearly 37,000 square miles, the Abrolhos Seascape is not the largest marine area to see mandatory protection. There are some MPAs that are as many as 10x larger or more. But it is proving to be a very productive reserve for the marine ecosystem and the local fisheries. Success need not be measure in big steps; little steps can make a big difference too.
Source: Conservation International