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Diving Tourism and Fisheries in Marine Protected Areas: Market Values and New Approaches to Improve Compliance in the Maldives Shark Sanctuary


  • Zimmerhackel, Johanna S
  • Pannell, David J
  • Meekan, Mark
  • Kragt, Marit E
  • Rogers, Abbie


Marine protected areas are probably the most prevailing instruments available to reduce the over-exploitation of marine resources. However, economic incentives and a lack of acceptance of regulations of fishers can lead to illegal fishing activities, causing further over-exploitation with negative consequences for livelihood and food security of communities. There are indications that in some places, dive operators reduce incentives for illegal fishing through contributing to the economic development of the area, surveillance activities and social programs. This project aims at exploring the relationship between the diving tourism industry and illegal shark fisheries in the shark sanctuary of the Maldives in order to understand the capacities and incentives of diving tourism to improve fishers’ compliance. I will use survey techniques to determine the financial revenue of the shark diving industry and examine the historical development of its socio-economic importance. Surveys will also explore whether illegal fishing activities influence the trip demand of tourists and analyse what different circumstances are most likely to motivate dive operators to address illegal fishing through certain actions. Finally, I will use a Bayesian Network model to investigate what effects dive operators’ actions have on fishers’ compliance, the condition of shark populations and ultimately the number of tourists visiting the area. Results can help to diminish user conflicts and improve compliance of fishers in the Maldives. Hence, this project can contribute to the conservation of shark populations with positive outcomes for the local economy, community and marine ecosystems. My findings can be applied to other places that face similar problems like the shark sanctuary in the Maldives.

Suggested Citation

  • Zimmerhackel, Johanna S & Pannell, David J & Meekan, Mark & Kragt, Marit E & Rogers, Abbie, 2016. "Diving Tourism and Fisheries in Marine Protected Areas: Market Values and New Approaches to Improve Compliance in the Maldives Shark Sanctuary," Working Papers 243921, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwauwp:243921

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jorge Dresdner & Carlos Chávez & Omar Barriga, 2015. "Compliance in Artisanal Fisheries: Do Morality, Legitimacy, and Peer Effects Matter?," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 349-370.
    2. Tupper, Mark & Asif, Furqan & Garces, Len R. & Pido, Michael D., 2015. "Evaluating the management effectiveness of marine protected areas at seven selected sites in the Philippines," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 33-42.
    3. Agardy, Tundi & di Sciara, Giuseppe Notarbartolo & Christie, Patrick, 2011. "Mind the gap: Addressing the shortcomings of marine protected areas through large scale marine spatial planning," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 226-232, March.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. 315 – Shark conservation and demand for tourism in the Maldives
      by David Pannell in Pannell Discussions on 2018-07-02 15:00:55

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    Environmental Economics and Policy;

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