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Stakeholder perspectives on socio-economic challenges and recommendations for better management of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area in South Africa.

Francolini, E.M., Mann-Lang, J.B., McKinley, E. ORCID:, Mann, B.Q. and Abrahams, M.I. 2023. Stakeholder perspectives on socio-economic challenges and recommendations for better management of the Aliwal Shoal Marine Protected Area in South Africa. Marine Policy 148 , 105470. 10.1016/j.marpol.2022.105470
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) regulate human behaviour within their boundaries to support long-term conservation of marine ecosystems and associated human benefits. As complex socio-ecological systems, the success of MPAs is fundamentally reliant upon community and stakeholder engagement, support, and compliance. Using the Aliwal Shoal MPA in South Africa as a case study, 48 stakeholder interviews were conducted to explore perceptions of existing challenges and potential solutions relating to management of the MPA. Analysis identified several challenges including: i) non-compliance with existing laws; ii) insufficient marine law enforcement; iii) national corruption; iv) poor physical infrastructure, and v) perceived racially biased MPA regulations. To address these challenges, interviewees highlighted the following potential solutions: i) development of awareness raising initiatives to foster marine stewardship and support for the MPA; ii) improving the visibility of marine conservation and MPA management activities; iii) investing finances generated by the Aliwal Shoal MPA regulations (such as diving permit fees) directly into MPA management; iv) identifying and enhancing local skills and knowledge that could contribute to enhancing conservation activities; and v) exploring innovative technical solutions that can improve community awareness and compliance with MPA regulations. While not representative of the entire spectrum of stakeholders, this paper provides useful insights that can be used by national MPA implementing agencies, local management bodies and conservation organisations as they try to improve engagement with local stakeholders to optimise social, economic, and ecological benefits, and contribute to improved governance. Additionally, the paper contributes to the global call for improved communication and engagement with stakeholders about MPAs, especially considering the increased emphasis placed on protected areas for global conservation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0308-597X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 April 2023
Date of Acceptance: 21 December 2022
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2023 01:47

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