As conservation theory and practice moves away from excluding resource users to creating partnerships with them, it is becoming increasingly clear that marine conservation is as much about understanding people as it is about understanding ecological processes. Social, economic, and
cultural factors can influence whether and how individuals and communities overexploit resources or cooperate to conserve them. Many marine conservation projects may fail because they do not adequately understand, address, and incorporate the socioeconomic needs and concerns of stakeholders.
These issues are especially pertinent in the Western Indian Ocean; a region where poverty and the geopolitics of biodiversity conservation acutely intersect.
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