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Abstract

Over the past few decades, marine conservation has become a global concern due to increasing anthropogenic activities in the vicinity of coastal areas, which has led to the development of the concept of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for the conservation of marine ecology and its biodiversity. Conservation and acceptance of MPAs can only be achieved if coastal communities and fisherfolk are included as significant stakeholders because MPAs have direct relevance to their livelihood. To capture their acceptance towards the Gulf of Kachchh Marine National Park (MNP), Jamnagar, artisanal fisherfolk fishing in and around the MNP were surveyed to determine whether the presence of a well-managed MNP has any positive effects on the adjacent fishing communities since its establishment. The findings showed that the total fish catch was observed to increase over the years, but there has been a perceived decline in total catch in recent years. Similarly, while the total fish catch data recorded an increasing trend, discussions with the fisherfolk revealed a sharp decline in “catch per unit effort” in recent years. Fisherfolk from all sites showed interest in the development of the MNP and were keen to be involved in conservation planning and the management of the MNP.

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