Are spatial incentives more cost effective than marine protected areas for conserving biodiversity

The incidental capture of seabirds has been an issue of concern in the Australian pelagic longline fishery, resulting in closures driven by a threat abatement plan established under Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The tuna fishery management plan has the option of reducing the effort allocation that a fishing operator receives based on where they fish. While intended for spatial management of fishing on commercial species, we evaluated whether this effort incentive tool could be extended to reduce capture of threatened species like seabirds as a cost efficient alternative to the current policy of fisheries closures. In this example, the area in which we apply the incentives corresponds to one in which closures, in the form of prohibited day settings, have been recently utilised by AFMA.

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