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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

MPAs and Aspatial Policies in Artisanal Fisheries

Albers, Heidi J.; Ashworth, Madison; Capitan, Tabare; Madrigal-Ballestero, Roger; Preonas, Louis


Using a spatially explicit framework with low/middle-income country coastal characteristics, we explore whether aspatial policies augment the impact of marine protected areas (MPAs) and identify when MPAs create income burdens on communities. When MPAs are small and budget-constrained, they cannot resolve all of the marinescape's open-access issues, but they can create win-win opportunities for ecological and economic goals at lower levels of enforcement. Aspatial policies-taxes, gear restrictions, license restrictions, and livelihood programs-improve the MPA's ability to generate ecological gains, and licenses and livelihood policies can mitigate MPA-induced income burdens. Managers can use MPA location and enforcement level, in conjunction with the MPA's impact on fish dispersal, to induce exit from fishing and to direct the spatial leakage of effort. Our framework provides further insights for conservation-development policy in coastal settings, and we explore stylized examples in Costa Rica and Tanzania.


Artisanal fishery; fishery management; leakage; marine protected areas; marine reserves; no-take zones; people-park conflict; spatial bioeconomic model; spatial prioritization

Published in

Marine Resource Economics
2021, volume: 36, number: 4, pages: 341-367

Authors' information

Albers, Heidi J.
University of Wyoming
Ashworth, Madison
University of Wyoming
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Madrigal-Ballestero, Róger
Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center
Preonas, Louis
University System of Maryland

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water
SDG17 Partnerships for the goals

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Wildlife Management

Publication Identifiers


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