This report by the European Commission reviews the existing evidence of economic benefits generated from Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and other Spatial Protection Measures (SPMs) to fisheries, maritime tourism and other blue economy sectors in Europe.

Of the total of 627 reviewed studies, 94 were identified as falling within the selection criteria for this review. Of these 94 studies, 44 studies show evidence of economic benefits of MPAs and/or SPMs to fisheries and 33 studies to maritime tourism. Fifteen studies compare costs and benefits of MPAs and/or SPMs to various degrees, and finally 22 studies indicate how so-called de-facto refuges can act as MPAs and thereby potentially benefit blue economy sectors. The existing evidence is largely dominated by literature on economic benefits to maritime tourism and artisanal fisheries. The evidence is also highly concentrated geographically, primarily to the Mediterranean Sea and the NE Atlantic Ocean.

The review concludes that MPAs and other SPMs have been shown to deliver concrete benefits to blue economy sectors. However, the review also shows that the economic benefits of MPAs remain poorly understood – both the nature of such benefits and the extent to which they occur. It is stated that the body of evidence is growing, however it is not yet sufficiently comprehensive to draw any detailed overall conclusions.

Pantzar et al. (2018) Study of the economic benefits of Marine Protected Areas. European Commission, Brussels, 138 p.