New research by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the tuna fishing industry made more money after two Marine Protected Areas were expanded off Hawaii.
The industry itself had opposed the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRI), southeast of Hawaii, and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) northwest of the island chain. Fishermen feared such expansions — which took effect in 2014 and 2016 respectively — would negatively effect their bottom line. That turned out to not be the case, Pew researchers found.
The Pew researchers’ work built upon an earlier study published in the journal Nature Communications in 2020 that looked at longline commercial fishing off those two MPAs via “catch per unit effort” as a way to calculate profitability. The Pew study did something different, according to a post on the organization’s website:
“The revised analysis weighted species by their economic value, rather than by the number of fish caught for all species, allowing the researchers to capture the market value of the two most commercially important species that are the focus of the fishery. Although one of them—yellowfin tuna—had the fourth-largest catch, it was second only to bigeye tuna in revenue. The updated analysis found that fishing profitability increased for these two species following both expansions.
“The data shows that revenue per unit effort generally increased since the expansions began in 2014 and further increased for the 16 months following the Papah?naumoku?kea monument expansion. ‘It now appears that the Papah?naumoku?kea expansion actually benefited’ Hawaii’s tuna fishery, the researchers explained.”
Check out the study here.
(Image credit: Fabien Forget/ISSF)