Marine Protected Areas to Promote Human Nutrition

Currently 7.6% of the world’s oceans are governed as MPAs, a number that is targeted to reach 10% by 2020 and perhaps as much as 30% by 2030. MPA establishment often has profound impacts on fish populations, especially when MPAs have sufficient human and financial capacity. Among other impacts, MPAs and their fisheries impacts may benefit human nutrition. Despite the critical implications of MPA expansion for human well-being, research has not yet examined the global implications of MPA expansion for human health and nutrition. Better understanding of the implications of MPA expansion for human health has the potential both to galvanize support and finance to achieve agreed upon targets for MPA expansion, as well as to ensure MPAs are optimally located to maximize returns both for conservation and human health objectives. Our research involves a collaboration among HSPH (Daniel Viana), Conservation International (Michael Mascia  and Alex Zvoleff), and Duke University (David Gill).