The impact of Marine Protected Areas on the Argentine Patagonian toothfish fishery under scrutiny

18 Jul, 2023

The effect of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) on fishery resources and fishing activity is controversial. In a recent scientific article published in Marine and Fishery Sciences (MAFIS), was analyzed the possible impact on the argentine Patagonian toothfish fishery due to the establishment of the Namuncurá – Burdwood Bank and Yaganes Marine Protected Areas. Its location overlaps with some of the main fishing grounds of the species in the Argentine Sea. Two types of possible impacts derived from the establishment of MPAs were identified. The first, in the short term and considered negative, is the limitation of catches due to restrictions on vessel operation in areas that historically represented important fishing grounds for the species. The second, potentially positive, is known as the “spillover effect,” which, if it occurs, in the medium and long term would produce an increase in fish abundance and size. However, despite several years having passed since the establishment of the MPAs, no plans have been put in place to evaluate the ecological and fishing impact through monitoring the evolution of resources or biodiversity, resulting in their effects being only qualitatively speculated.