Socio-economic impacts and benefits of no-take zones in marine parks (PhD)

Representative, replicated and adequate networks of no-take marine reserves within Marine Parks are a good idea for marine conservation. However, a consistent message from marine park managers has been that the policy and planning debate is unsupported due to a lack of rigorous methods for quantifying the socio-economic impacts and benefits of no-take zones.

To address this we are establishing socio-economic benchmarks of Australia’s newly gazetted Australian Marine Parks and all existing state marine park systems, led by postdoctoral fellow, Matt Navarro through the National Environmental Science Programme: Marine Biodiversity Hub. Our research has already documented broad support for no-take zones in marine parks amongst recreational fishers, contradicting messages from recreational fishing groups. We have also hosted a series of regional workshops, leading a national conversation on the role of socio-economic assessment to inform marine park planning, evaluation and the policy debate.

The proposed PhD project would develop rigorous methods to assess the impacts of no-take zones and apply them to planned marine park sites identified in the WA government’s plan for our parks. The techniques would integrate economically-informed behavioural models of recreational fishers and non-extractive users with biological population models of key target species (e.g. western rock lobster). The research would involve collaborations with researchers at WA Fisheries and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. We would also deliver national impact by developing our methods into a decision support tool for evaluating marine park impacts on recreational fishers and non-extractive users. The proposed PhD project would set a new standard in the assessment of the net benefit of no-take zones, and bring scientific rigour and clarity to highly polarised debates about the value of marine parks.

This scholarship includes $30,000 stipend per annum and a total research budget of $20,000 available to cover research costs.

Study area



$30,000 stipend per annum plus a total $20k research budget


Applicants should make contact to discuss eligibility and the application process.


Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident, or International

Applications close


Commencement date

Before the 01/06/2020

Funding source