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Research Article Open Access

What are the Main Drivers of MPA Failings?


Non-compliance and its drivers are some of the most critical reasons as to why marine protected areas (MPAs) fail to have peak effectiveness but are not comprehensively studied. A systematic review (SR) protocol was used to determine the main drivers of non-compliance in MPAs that could compromise protective efficacy and lead to failings. Fourteen of the most commonly mentioned drivers were identified, and the weight of evidence behind each of these drivers was analysed through the SR. Instances of non-compliance in temperate MPAs were found to be underreported in comparison to their tropical counterparts, which may be attributed to there being fewer temperate MPAs, a bias towards tropical MPA studies, or that temperate MPAs have fewer instances of non-compliance. Four drivers were reported in tropical MPAs and for all drivers, frequency of citations was higher for tropical than temperate MPAs. Drivers were not equally represented in frequency across MPAs and lack of an adaptive management plan was observed at a greater frequency than expected, suggesting it may be fundamental in leading to MPA failings and non-compliance. No significant association was found between the frequency of the driver mentioned and either MPA age, size or climate. A checklist of ten questions was created from the 14 drivers identified to identify if an MPA is at risk of failing. This checklist of indicators combined with the results of this SR will aid MPA managers in quickly evaluating if their MPA is at risk of failing in its protective objectives. The results of this SR are fundamental in bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners using an evidenced-based approach to MPA planning and management.

Emma B

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