, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 963–974 | Cite as

Transboundary Socio-Ecological Effects of a Marine Protected Area in the Southwest Atlantic

  • Priscila F. M. LopesEmail author
  • Renato A. M. Silvano
  • Vinicius A. Nora
  • Alpina Begossi


Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been regarded as an alternative to protect natural resources and to improve fisheries. However, MPAs may also have negative socio-economic consequences on fishing communities. We aimed to check the effectiveness of a socially conflicting MPA in Brazil by assessing target reef fish biomass in islands inside (n = 6) and outside (n = 6) the MPA, fisheries’ productivity (biomass), catch per unit of effort (CPUE), and fishers’ socio-economic status (mainly fishers’ income) in three fishing communities subjected to different degrees of influence (close, average, and long distance) of the MPA. The CPUE was higher in the fishing community that was further away from the MPA, fish biomass was higher in the islands located inside the MPA in the southern region and in the islands located outside the MPA in the northern region, while fishers were making the most money closest to the MPA, where conflicts are the highest, probably from practicing very intensive fisheries. This integrated approach showed that the studied MPA has not delivered ecological benefits, such as higher CPUE or more fish, while higher income closer to the MPA could not be clearly attributed to its effects.


Small-scale fisheries Fisheries conflicts Reef fishes Ecosystem-based management Fish conservation Fisheries management 



We thank all the fishers and their families for supporting this study, allowing us to work in their communities, especially Sinésio, a fishmonger who let us use his space and provided valuable information. Special thanks to Robson Posidônio, a fisher from Trindade who sampled fish landings in his community and made our lives much easier by introducing us to fishers from his and other communities. Thanks to IDRC (Canada) and FAPESP (Brazil) for supporting this project (Grants Nos. 104519–004 and 2009/11154-3, respectively), to CNPq for research grants to R.A.M.S. (304377/2010-4) and to A.B., and to the FAPESP for research grant to R.A.M.S (2012/16722-2). P.F.M. Lopes thanks IDRC for an individual research grant.

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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priscila F. M. Lopes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renato A. M. Silvano
    • 2
  • Vinicius A. Nora
    • 4
  • Alpina Begossi
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de BotânicaEcologia e Zoologia, UFRNNatalBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de EcologiaUFRGSPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.UNICAMP (CAPESCA, LEPAC and CMU)Campinas, SPBrazil
  4. 4.Fisheries and Food Institute (FIFO)/ECOMAR/UNISANTASantosBrazil

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