Relative mobility determines the efficacy of MPAs in a two species mixed fishery with conflicting management objectives
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been used to protect species in need of conservation and as a fisheries management tool. It has been suggested MPAs can benefit mobile stocks by protecting spawning grounds whilst also allowing yields to be maintained as mature fish move out of the protected areas. However, the robustness of this claim in mixed species fisheries has yet to be established. We use a simulation model to explore the efficacy of spatial closures and effort regulation when other forms of fishery control (e.g., Total Allowable Catches) are absent or non-enforced as ways of addressing management objectives that are difficult to reconcile due to the contrasting life-histories of a target and a bycatch, conservation species in a two-species fishery. The mobility of each stock in such a fishery affects the benefits conferred by an MPA. The differing management objectives of the two species can be partially met by effort regulations or closures when the species exhibit similar mobility. However, a more mobile conservation species prevents both sets of aims being met by either management tool. We use simulations to explore how spatial closures and effort regulation can be used to seek compromise between stakeholders when the mobility of one stock prevents conflicting management objectives to be fully met. Our results demonstrate that stock mobility is a key factor in considering whether an MPA can meet conflicting aims in a multispecies fishery compromised of stocks with differing life histories and mobilities.