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Developing a social science strategy for Marine Protected Areas

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 18:26 authored by Sarah FischerSarah Fischer, Wahle, CM
While much attention continues to be focused on the natural science of marine protected areas (MPAs), it is becoming increasingly clear that the human dimension plays a large, and often decisive, role in the effectiveness of MPAs as a conservation tool. Although there is a growing awareness that “we are really managing people and their resource use, not fish,” the social sciences nevertheless continue to be largely overlooked in the design and management of MPAs. Consequently, there is a pressing need for understanding the social, cultural, and economic contexts in which policy maker’s conservation decisions will be applied. NOAA’s Marine Protected Areas Center, Institute for MPA Science, is developing a social science strategy that will identify priority social science issues and needs on a national scale for all types of MPAs. The strategy is intended to enhance the use of social science in designing and managing MPAs by guiding the allocation of resources and efforts among agencies, funding entities and key stakeholders. The highly participatory process for developing the strategy will be described and the results of the 2002 MPA social science workshop, highlighting social science priorities, will be presented.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 18th International Conference of The Coastal Society




Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Event title

Converging Currents: Science, Culture, and Policy at the Coast - 18th International Conference of The Coastal Society

Event Venue

Galveston, Texas

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems

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