Effects of Noncompliance on the Success of Alternative Designs of Marine Protected-Area Networks for Conservation and Fisheries Management
Studies examining the efficacy of marine protected areas (MPAs) rarely consider the potential for noncompliance. Violation of MPAs will typically occur near boundaries, so perimeter-to-area ratios will be important determinants of actual protection, suggesting that MPAs should be larger and likely fewer. The author investigated these competing criteria with a spatially structured model of a hypothetical marine fishery exploiting a sedentary reef-dwelling organism. The results highlight the important effects of noncompliance in realized MPA benefits and can explain why observed and expected effects might differ. Moreover, the results support a call for increased attention to rates of noncompliance and their ecological effects and greater collaboration among natural scientists, social scientists, managers, and stakeholders in understanding and altering illegal behavior.