Pascual M, Rossetto, E Ojea, N Milchakova, S Giakoumi, S Kark, D Korolesova, P Melia (2016) Socioeconomic impacts of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. OCEAN & COASTAL MANAGEMENT 133:1-10

The socioeconomic implications of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and perceptions of stakeholders on MPA impacts are important to consider when designing, implementing, and managing MPAs. However, the currently available knowledge about these areas and especially of stakeholder perceptions is scarce and limited to restricted geographic areas. The present study aims to address this gap by examining these factors in the Mediterranean and Black Seas using an extensive literature review and an online survey approach. We collated and examined a total of 208 published studies on socioeconomic impacts of MPAs and marine uses. We found that for fishing, the socioeconomic impacts of MPAs were generally perceived as negative for industrial fishing and positive for artisanal fishing. In the online survey, we collected ca. 100 responses and found that stakeholder perceptions on the impacts of MPAs differ across sectors and regions. Industrial fishing was perceived as being negatively impacted in the Black Sea, while most respondents from the Mediterranean Sea were neutral in their responses relating industrial fishing and MPAs. The impact of MPAs on artisanal and recreational fishing was generally viewed as neutral by respondents from the Black Sea, whereas most Mediterranean respondents indicated a positive impact of MPAs. We also found that perceptions of the major threats to MPAs differed across the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Responses from the Black Sea were systematically shifted towards a more negative perception of threats to MPAs compared to those from the Mediterranean Sea. Illegal fishing and other illegal activities were considered to be the most relevant threats to MPAs by stakeholders in both regions. The mismatch found between evidence of MPA effectiveness and impacts from the scientific literature and the results of our survey suggests that within the framework of maritime spatial planning and ecosystem-based management, effective MPA planning should be informed by multiple sources across regions. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.