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Do Marine Protected Areas Affect Human Nutrition and Health? A Comparison between Villages in Roviana, Solomon Islands

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The implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) for fisheries management has increased recently due to the perceived role of MPAs in conserving biodiversity, increasing fish stocks, and enhancing the food security of coastal communities. However, it is unclear whether MPAs may restrict the availability of marine resources and decrease overall food security and the health of the people. In the Roviana Lagoon of the Solomon Islands, we conducted cross-comparisons of villages with MPAs and a village without an MPA to assess whether MPAs influenced local perceptions of governance, environmental change, livelihood strategies, and actual human nutrition and health. Results showed that residents of villages with effective MPAs had higher energy and protein intake than those who had no MPA or an ineffective MPA. We conclude that "no-take" marine reserves do not have adverse effects and that when MPAs are effectively sustained they may enhance local nutrition and health.

Keywords: Oceania; Solomon Islands; human health and nutrition; marine protected areas; social impact assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology and Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA 2: Division for International Relations, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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