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Illegal fishing and compliance management in marine protected areas: a situational approach

Authors
  • Weekers, Damian1
  • Petrossian, Gohar2
  • Thiault, Lauric3, 4
  • 1 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 28 Flinders St, Townsville, QLD, 4810, Australia , Townsville (Australia)
  • 2 John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Haaren Hall-63107, 524 West 59th Street, New York, NY, 10019, USA , New York (United States)
  • 3 National Center for Scientific Research, PSL Université Paris, CRIOBE, USR 3278, CNRS-EPHE-UPVD, Maison des Océans, 195 Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris, 75005, France , Paris (France)
  • 4 Moana Ecologic, Rocbaron, France , Rocbaron (France)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Crime Science
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
May 17, 2021
Volume
10
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1186/s40163-021-00145-w
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Protected Areas (PAs) are spatially representative management tools that impose various levels of protection for conservation purposes. As spatially regulated places, ensuring compliance with the rules represents a key element of effective management and positive conservation outcomes. Wildlife crime, and in particular poaching, is a serious global problem that undermines the success of PAs. This study applies a socio-ecological approach to understanding the opportunity structure of illegal recreational fishing (poaching) in no-take zones in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. We use Boosted Regression Trees to predict the spatio-temporal distribution of poaching risk within no-take Marine National Park zones. The results show that five risk factors account for nearly three quarters (73.6%) of the relative importance for poaching in no-take zones and that temporally varying conditions influence risk across space. We discuss these findings through the theoretical lens of Environmental Criminology and suggest that law enforcement strategies focus on reducing the negative outcomes associated with poaching by limiting the opportunity of would-be offenders to undertake illegal activity.

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