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Computer Science - Ecology - Mathematics - Science Policy

The Potential Impact of Labor Choices on the Efficacy of Marine Conservation Strategies
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Author: Zachary D. Hughes et al.

by Zachary D. Hughes, Eli P. Fenichel, Leah R. Gerber

Conservation of marine resources is critical to the wellbeing of human communities. Coastal artisanal fishing communities are particularly reliant on marine resources for food and for their livelihoods. Management actions aimed at marine conservation may lead to unanticipated changes in human behavior that influence the ability of conservation programs to achieve their goals. We examine how marine conservation strategies may impact labor decisions that influence both the ecosystem and human livelihoods using simulation modeling. We consider two conservation strategies in the model: direct action through fisheries regulation enforcement, and indirect action through land conservation. Our results indicate that both strategies can increase the abundance of fish, and thus contribute to the maintenance of marine resources. However, our results also show that marine fisheries enforcement may negatively impact the livelihoods of human communities. Land conservation, on the other hand, potentially enhances the livelihood of the human populations. Thus, depending on management objectives, indirect or a combination of direct and indirect conservation strategies may be effective at achieving conservation and sustainability goals. These results highlight the importance of accounting for changes in human behavior resulting from management actions in conservation and management.