This is an interesting issue which some might have thought would have been resolved openly by marine spatial planning. Why has this arisen in relation to spatial use and MPAs? Perhaps it is because the other sectors use other means to influence the fishing sector? Who knows? One of those hidden aspects of marine management.

Fishing effort displacement and the consequences of implementing Marine Protected Area management – An English perspective

Duncan Vaughan

Marine Policy

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  • A framework is proposed for describing the displacement of fishing effort due to implementing marine protected areas.
  • Displacement of fishing effort in England is described.
  • Environmental implications resulting from fishing effort displacement are set out.
  • Fishing effort displacement mitigation options are detailed.


The creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and MPA networks is increasing globally. This trend is reflected in England’s waters, where 34.7% of waters are protected. MPA network creation can displace activities (primarily fisheries) that are thought to be incompatible with the habitats and species of conservation importance that the network has been established to protect. There is also an obligation on the UK Government to ensure that all of its waters achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020 under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The designation of MPAs and the subsequent introduction of management measures that displace activities may result in unintended impacts/consequences on protected benthic habitats or species within (a) the MPA where management measures have been introduced, (b) other MPAs or (c) wider UK or international waters. An incomplete understanding of the extent and type of fishing that is occurring within the MPA network (and throughout English waters in general), coupled with a paucity of information regarding how fishing effort is displaced as a result of MPA designation, may hinder the achievement of both GES by 2020 and MPA management goals. Better understanding of fishing effort displacement can inform the siting of future MPAs, aid marine spatial planning and improve existing MPA management. To aid the better description and understanding of the various facets of fisheries effort displacement, this paper proposes for the first time a structure to differentiate the types of fisheries displacement. Measures to mitigate the consequences of displaced fishing effort are also identified.’

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