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A systematic review of commercial fishers’ attitudes, perception and beliefs regarding marine protected areas.

Pita C1&2, Pierce G.J3 & Theodossiou I1

1Business School, Department of Economics, University of Aberdeen, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, Aberdeen AB24 3QY, Scotland, UK.

2 Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability (ACES), School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, Scotland, UK.

3 School Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, Scotland, UK.

The use of marine protected areas (MPAs) is attracting widespread attention worldwide as a tool for fishery management and marine ecosystem conservation. The establishment of MPAs has seen an exponential increase in recent years mostly due to international commitments to the establishment of a global network of MPAs by 2012, as part of the decisions at the Johannesburg 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). Although MPAs have the potential to affect the local economy and welfare of coastal communities highly dependent on fisheries, there is a lack of research exploring the economic, social and cultural ramifications of this management strategy. According to the US National MPAs Center studies in attitudes, perceptions, beliefs and preferences related to MPA issues are priority social science topics in need of research. We conducted a systematic review of literature published up to September 2009, aimed at identifying which are the most investigated topics related to commercial fishers’ attitudes, perceptions and beliefs regarding issues related to MPAs; and, the main findings from these studies. The literature review identified that most papers focus of fishers’ attitudes, perception and beliefs regarding issues of governance, environment and conservation, and use patterns and livelihood strategies. Although much literature exists on MPAs, the present systematic review reveals that not much of this literature relates to empirical studies, and even less is based in primary data collection.

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