Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a primary tool for conserving marine biodiversity. The literature presents a scattered picture regarding the extent to which co-management can be considered valuable. In this study we examine, what conditions are for co-management to make a contribution to conserving marine ecosystems (e.g., stopping coral bleaching and safeguarding fish populations). By combining data on MPA management practices with a novel source of global biodata collected by citizens (ReefCheck), we demonstrate that if co-management is part of a formal governmental strategy, coral reefs show up to 86% fewer bleached colonies and up to 12.2 times larger fish populations than co-managed MPAs lacking formalized governmental support.

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Keywords Citizen science, Co-management, Coral bleaching, Fish population, Marine protected areas
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Journal Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
Voorberg, W.H, & van der Veer, R.A. (2020). Co-management as a successful strategy for marine conservation. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 8(8). doi:10.3390/JMSE8070491