Social and economic criteria should always be considered when creating a resilient MPA network. The challenge is how to integrate requirements of natural systems with needs of the people who depend upon them. An effectively managed, resilient MPA network is one way to address this challenge. MPA creation can help move from single sector management to a more holistic approach, including human and ecosystem interactions, and cumulative impacts. This multiple-objective approach can create a foundation that transforms the way people address conflicts between the environment and the economy.
Although all social and economic factors, including the costs and benefits to humans and the environment, should be considered in creating an MPA network, the majority of efforts tend to focus on:
Tourism: Often a majority of income, especially in developing countries, comes from tourism. It is important to create tourism industries with limited biodiversity impacts, local knowledge that is used for tours and management, and buy-in from the local community to be stewards for their natural resources.
Fisheries: Commercial and some artisanal fishing can have the largest impacts, and be most impacted by MPA networks. Local fishers may have to learn new trades or fish with alternative gear to ensure their livelihoods are secure. Support and buy-in from the local community, stakeholders, and government is imperative to a successful and sustainable MPA network.
Other (climate change, ports/marinas, coastal development): Creating a successful resilient MPA network depends on accounting for the many effects of climate change, some of which are addressed in this toolkit. In addition, there will always be multiple uses in or near an MPA. Working with the community and multiple stakeholders to create a win-win situation for everyone is key.
The examples in the next two sections demonstrate how socioeconomic indicators were accounted for in various phases of development. Accounting for human uses and community buy-in at local levels such as Kimbe Bay, or at a large region-wide scale such as the Great Barrier Reef, are essential to MPA success.