Stefan Gelcich is an assistant professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile and a researcher with Center of Applied Ecology and Sustainability, where he is working on threats and impacts of global drivers on ecosystem services and policies.
No-take marine protected areas (MPAs) are an indispensable tool for the conservation of biodiversity in the world’s oceans. Nevertheless, some communities resist establishment of reserves, fearing that they will affect their livelihood. Creating coastal MPAs in conjunction with territorial user rights for fisheries, which give a specific group of artisanal fishermen exclusive access to one area of ocean, could be a successful prototype for the long-term preservation of ocean resources and sustainable management of many fisheries.
For his Pew fellowship, Gelcich oversaw a series of pilot projects in Chile that tested this approach. Through these trials, he examined the social and ecological conditions that facilitate the successful design and scalability of this approach. Gelcich found that linking territorial user rights for fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation policies can be an effective way to manage biodiversity, especially in developing countries.
Gelcich hopes to eventually develop a financial model concerning possible future economic incentives for no-take areas. His primary objective is to scale up marine conservation through the active participation of fishers.
To learn more about Gelcich, visit http://www.eula.cl/musels/english/?p=80.