Policy Brief: Improving Conservation Effectiveness and the Relationship between Marine Protected Areas and Local Communities in Thailand


MPA Policy Brief front pageMarine protected areas (MPAs) are important biodiversity conservation and fisheries management tools. They can also benefit local communities through safeguarding valuable ecosystem services and supporting the development of tourism economies. On the Andaman coast of Thailand, there are 18 National Marine Parks (NMPs) under the jurisdiction of the Department of National Parks. Technically, these NMPs are “no-take” MPAs where fishing and other extractive activities are not allowed. Yet there are numerous small fishing communities located beside and within the boundaries of the NMPs whose livelihoods are impacted by restrictive resource management policies and exclusionary processes.

Successful marine conservation initiatives require the support and compliance of local communities. In Thailand, local communities question the legitimacy of NMP governance, hold negative perceptions of management processes and feel that there are more negative impacts to livelihoods than benefits through tourism. As a result, local communities often ignore or actively oppose the NMPs thus…

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About Nathan J. Bennett

Nathan J. Bennett (see nathanbennett.ca) is a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. He conducts research on humans-environment interactions, conservation social sciences and environmental governance and management.
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