Last week, I read a compelling book by Alex Caveen and co-authors, ‘The Controversy over Marine Protected Areas: Science Meets Policy.’ The book seeks to answer whether strict Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), where all fishing is prohibited, are a better means of protecting exploited fish stocks than conventional fisheries management strategies that include quota restrictions, gear regulations, minimum landing sizes, and multiple use protected areas.
Knowing whether aquaculture in developing countries helps the poorest in communities is an important question for development agencies who want to make pro-poor investments. Historically, there have been two arguments that it does not. First, to be a fish farmer you need to have a certain amount of wealth, so the poorest are unable to become producers. Second, aquaculture tends to produce larger, high-value fish that are too expensive for the poorest consumers.