There is now a vast body of evidence supporting the conservation benefits of marine protected areas (MPAs) in coastal and nearshore ecosystems. This has led to numerous proposals to expand the use of MPAs to pelagic environments, and interest in the use of MPAs to conserve and responsibly manage pelagic species, including tunas, has rapidly grown. Nevertheless, there has been far less research into the benefits of pelagic MPAs and their environmental benefits remain less certain. This project reviewed the current status of research into pelagic MPAs, bringing together the most recent available evidence of conservation benefits provided by MPAs to pelagic species and provided critical discussion regarding where they are appropriate, focussing predominantly on the biological literature rather than issues of governance and enforcement, except where these issues have influenced the effects of MPAs.
This report is available at: http://iss-foundation.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/01/ISSF-2012-02-MPA-review.pdf