Marine protected areas in a welfare-based perspective
Assuming a broad set of fisheries management goals, this paper analyzes the implementation of a marine protected area (MPA) together with open access outside, applying a bioeconomic model that ensures unchanged growth post-MPA. Taking into account that conservation and restoration, food security, employment and social surplus are amongst the objectives that many managers include in fisheries management, it is found that this broader welfare economic approach to MPAs may well recommend them to a greater degree than espoused in the more common resource rent focused studies carried out to date. It is shown that for overfished stocks, an MPA may yield resource protection, maximize harvests and increase consumer and producer surplus, as well as give higher employment. This, however, is less apparent for moderately overfished as well as highly migratory stocks. Resource protection and enhancement implicitly improves ecosystem services.