Locally managed marine areas: Implications for socio-economic impacts in Kadavu, Fiji
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a widely used marine conservation tool designed to preserve marine biodiversity and improve fisheries management. Although the environmental benefits of MPAs are well established, evaluating the social and economic impacts of MPAs is challenging. In this paper we quantitatively identify the economic and social differences between communities based on whether or not the community has a tabu area in their local fishing ground. This is an area permanently closed to fishing within a locally managed marine area (LMMA), a form of MPA in the Pacific region. To do this we analyse survey data at both the household and village level in Kadavu, an administrative province of Fiji. We find there are differences in economic activity and diet between the communities but little difference in overall income and wealth. Our study shows that villages with an active tabu area have more positive social outcomes in terms of perceptions of LMMAs. However, there are some notable negative social outcomes as well. In particular, we find that households not engaged in commercial fishing perceive conflict around the management of marine resources. We also find that households engaged in commercial fishing believe penalties for violating LMMA rules are high. Together, these results could potentially impede the adoption of LMMAs and tabu areas. Overall, our survey results do not indicate that tabu areas are detrimental or beneficial on the whole, either economically and socially.