The Rise and Rise of the Marine Reserves ‘Bandwagon’

  • Alex CaveenEmail author
  • Nick Polunin
  • Tim Gray
  • Selina Marguerite Stead
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Environmental Science book series (BRIEFSENVIRONMENTAL)


In this chapter, we investigate how and why the nature protectionist (NP) paradigm of marine reserves (MRs) became so dominant in the scientific literature during the 1990s and 2000s. The fact that the NP paradigm of MRs became dominant is demonstrated in Chap. 3 and is not in much dispute: What is less clear is how and why it did so. We argue that the key to its extraordinary rise in popularity is threefold: (1) it benefitted from a widespread perception that conventional fisheries management (CFM) had failed to prevent declines in fish stocks and in marine biodiversity around the world, and that a radical new approach was needed; (2) it owed much of its momentum to an elite group of marine ecologists who formed themselves into an epistemic community dedicated to the idea of MRs; and (3) it was taken up with enthusiasm by the international environmental movement who saw it as a worthy cause to prioritise and developed an advocacy coalition to promote it. We have already discussed the first factor in Chap. 1. In the present chapter, we discuss the second and third factors. On the third factor, we note that the pro-MR advocacy coalition was belatedly challenged by an anti-MR advocacy coalition, which has eventually succeeded in slowing down the progress of the MR bandwagon.


Marine Protect Area Marine Reserve Policy Network Marine Biodiversity Epistemic Community 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Caveen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nick Polunin
    • 2
  • Tim Gray
    • 3
  • Selina Marguerite Stead
    • 4
  1. 1.SeafishGrimsbyUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.School of Marine Science and TechnologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle on TyneUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.School of Geography, Politics and SociologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle on TyneUnited Kingdom
  4. 4.School of Marine Science & TechnologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle on TyneUnited Kingdom

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