By Joachim Claudet, National Center for Scientific Research, joachim.claudet [at] gmail.com
“Marine protected areas are effective tools for fisheries management and biodiversity conservation.” This assertion used to be found in many articles of the conservation or fisheries scientific literature. It might now, however, be registered on the list of endangered sentences. The study of marine protected areas (MPAs) emerged in the 1990s and about 20 years were needed to clearly identify their ecological and socio-economic benefits. Today, the scientific results that led to such conclusions cannot be generalized anymore. How to explain what appears to be a regression? Could the effectiveness of such tools have decreased? The answer appears to be, unfortunately, more prosaic.