Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are used as tools to increase marine biodiversity and their concomitant ecosystem services that benefit human wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to assess whether they are in fact delivering socioeconomic benefits to the surrounding communities beyond increasing fish biomass.
This paper presents the SEAT (Socio-Economic Assessment Tool), developed to measure socioeconomic benefits derived from MPAs. The SEAT includes human, financial and social capital indicators and is designed for easy accomplishment by MPA managers. Additionally, the tool was pilot-tested in several MPAs in the Philippines.
The author states that the SEAT builds on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Framework of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, with a focus whether MPAs increase financial, human and social capital of MPA management bodies and the surrounding communities.
The paper underlines that the obtained results can provide guidelines on how MPAs can better be designed, managed or even expanded to increase socio-economic outcomes.
The conclusions report that the SEAT has proven to be a good start in assessing whether MPAs have effectively provided socio-economic benefits to communities surrounding them. And during the pilot-test, primary users such as MPA managers and local government officials have found the instrument useful and easy to accomplish.
Rosales RMP (2018) SEAT: Measuring socio-economic benefits of marine protected areas. Marine Policy 92:120-130.