Are marine protected areas a red herring or fisheries panacea?

Michel J. Kaiser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

136 Citations (Scopus)


Chronic failures in marine fisheries management have led some to suggest that marine protected areas (MPAs) are the solution to achieve sustainable fisheries. While such systems work for certain habitat-specific and nonmobile species, their utility for highly mobile stocks is questionable. Often the debate among proponents and critics of MPAs is confused by a lack of appreciation of the goals and objectives of such systems. The current consideration of MPAs as the basis of future fisheries management is a symptom of, and not the singular solution to, the problem of inappropriate implementation of fishing effort controls. The latter will provide greater overall conservation benefits if properly applied. Any future use of MPAs as an effective tool to achieve sustainable fisheries management in temperate systems should be treated as a large-scale, rigorously designed experiment to ensure that the outcome of using MPAs is interpreted correctly and not discredited for false reasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1199
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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