Understanding the feedbacks between food systems and conservation policies can help avoid unintended environmental consequences. Using a survey-based choice experiment and economic modelling, we quantify the potential impact of tourists’ responses to a shift in offshore fish supply after the designation of a large-scale marine protected area in Palau. We find that this conservation policy may increase offshore fish prices and tourists’ consumption of reef fish, thereby further endangering local reef ecosystems. However, if tourists are offered a sustainable offshore choice, their demand for fish could be kept at current levels, and environmental impacts from increased reef fish consumption would be avoided.
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The custom code generated for this study is available in the Supplementary Data file.
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We thank National Geographic Pristine Seas for funding this project; the Palau International Coral Reef Center for coordinating and supporting the data collection; the survey enumerators, including A. Uchel and T. Holm; and T. Oliver for providing advice on our statistical analysis.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Food thanks Mark Zimring and Hollie Booth for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Lewis, S.A., Fezzi, C., Dacks, R. et al. Conservation policies informed by food system feedbacks can avoid unintended consequences. Nat Food 1, 783–786 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43016-020-00192-7