SOCIAL-ECOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF USING MARINE PROTECTED AREAS TO MANAGE AN ORNAMENTAL FISHERY IN HAWAII
Stevenson, Todd Christian
MetadataShow full item record
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been implemented across the globe to protect biodiversity and important habitats, enhance fisheries, and manage marine resource users. Several hundred thousand wild caught reef fish are captured and sold each year for the global aquarium trade in the state of Hawaii, U.S.A. The state's largest aquarium fishery is located on the west coast of the island of Hawaii (hereafter West Hawaii), where a network of MPAs were implemented in 1998 to enhance reef fish harvested for the trade and reduce conflict between aquarium fishers and other marine resource users. My research focused on the following three questions: 1) How did aquarium fisher adaptations to the MPA network influence catch productivity and selectivity?; 2) How did the MPA network spatially displace aquarium fishing and what were the socioeconomic consequences from this displacement on the fishing community?; and 3) Are MPA networks effective for managing marine resource conflict? My findings indicate fishers adopted new and effective fishing technologies and methods, and shifted from harvesting a diverse trophic composition to one focused mainly on noncorallivore fishes. Additionally, the MPA network displaced fishing effort on West Hawaii farther from where fishing boats launch, but fisher socioeconomic well-being was unaffected despite the increase in fishing cost and travel time; exogenous trade factors likely buoyed these socioeconomic factors. Last, fishers and SCUBA dive operators perceived the MPA network moderately reduced conflict between them, but differences in value orientations toward the aquarium fish trade held by these groups are pervasive and likely contribute to recurring conflict in Hawaii. My findings illustrate that fishers adapt to MPAs, MPAs can spatially displace fishing effort and influence the socioeconomic well-being of fishers, and MPAs may not resolve human conflict when other social differences between groups exist. These findings underscore the importance of investigating human dimensions associated with using MPAs for fisheries and conflict management.