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Study: Expanding MPAs in Pacific didn't harm fishing industry

The expansion of two large U.S. marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Pacific Ocean had no measurable economic effects on the fishing industry, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, one of only a few studies to apply rigorous scientific methods to this issue.

The authors looked at longline commercial fishing by the Hawaii fleet around two of the largest protected areas on earth: The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRI), south and east of Hawaii, which was expanded in 2014, and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which was enlarged in 2016. The expansions quadrupled the size of each of these MPAs, which together prohibit commercial fishing and oil and gas exploration across more than 2.7 million square kilometers (around 1.1 million square miles) of ocean.

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