Assessing the performance of Marine Protected Areas

Linking governance, conservation, ecosystem services, and human well being.

Assessing the performance of Marine Protected Areas

As threats to our oceans increase, marine ecosystem services – including fisheries, coastal protection and tourism – play an ever more critical role in the economies of many developing countries, supporting the livelihoods and food security of millions of people.

Marine protected areas (MPAs), which include marine reserves, sanctuaries, parks, and no-take zones, are areas designated to protect marine species and habitats from both global and local threats.

MPAs can provide social and environmental benefits when managed well, but more research is needed to determine the underlying factors that contribute to the success of marine conservation activities. Reviews have revealed wide variation in the ecological and social ‘performance’ of these areas.

The Marine Protected Areas project has compiled the first global data set to examine the links between MPA management and effectiveness. The project, a partnership between the Luc Hoffmann Institute (LHI) and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), coordinated by LHI Fellow David Gill, has identified the links between MPA governance and socio-ecological outcomes by compiling and analysing data from MPAs across the globe. It has brought together a group of researchers and stakeholders from multiple research disciplines as well as academic and non-academic backgrounds.


Project partners

Project leaders

David Gill (Luc Hoffmann/SESYNC Fellow), Helen Fox (National Geographic), Mike Mascia (Conservation International), Louise Glew and Gabby Ahmadia (WWF US).

Related Reading

Chris JohnsonAssessing the performance of Marine Protected Areas