Lessons from Lyme Bay (UK) to inform policy, management, and monitoring of Marine Protected Areas

Marine Diversity
Climatic Events
Chloe Renn, Sian Rees, Adam Rees, Bede F R Davies, Amy Y Cartwright, Sam Fanshawe, Martin J Attrill, Luke A Holmes & Emma V Sheehan

Chloe RennSian ReesAdam ReesBede F R DaviesAmy Y CartwrightSam FanshaweMartin J AttrillLuke A Holmes & Emma V Sheehan


January 16, 2024

Renn et al., 2021

This decade represents a critical period to profoundly rethink human–nature interactions in order to address the interwoven climate and biodiversity crises. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) demonstrate promise for increasing ecosystem resilience and reversing habitat and population declines, but outcomes vary considerably from context to context. Partially protected areas offer a compromise between ecological recovery and the social needs of local communities, but their success is contingent on an array of factors. This in-depth review summarizes 15 years of marine conservation research and impact in Lyme Bay (southwest UK), to serve as a model for the future adoption of partially protected MPAs. The findings from the UK’s longest integrated socioecological monitoring MPA study are presented and supplemented by an evaluation of the whole-site management approach as a core element of Lyme Bay’s achievements. The journey from research to improved monitoring and ambitious policy is illustrated within and interspersed with stories of novel discoveries, ongoing challenges, and method developments. What started as a dedicated group of community members has grown into an immense collaboration between fishers, scientists, NGOs, and regulators, and their combined efforts have sent ripple effects of positive change across the globe.