Location: Pasadena, CA
|Yes, it makes sense that accidents/deaths would increase. Fisherman are forced to explore fishing grounds that are less familiar to them. Popular fishing spots aren't only traditionally established because of their productivity, but for their relative safety, right? I didn't fish much when I lived on Guam, but I snorkeled a bunch and can definitely attest to the western side being more calm (and thus more populated) than the eastern side.
Will MPAs lead to increased deaths of fishermen here in California? Hard to say with all the factors involved, but it's certainly a change that opens the door for error. In the grand scheme of things, I guess people will look at it as a short term consequence since you'd expect fishermen to gain more knowledge, choose less productive areas, or give up fishing entirely. But is that an acceptable tradeoff? Again, hard to say because it's such a complicated matter with so many factors involved.
Going back to the research, I wish they defined whether these were shore or boat accidents. I'd imagine it's the subsistence fishermen who are getting hammered.