Many developing countries have encouraged the expansion of mechanised fishing in order to engage in the lucrative export of seafood. This has caused a rise in the incidental mortality of marine wildlife. In recent years, widespread concern over wildlife deaths has been used by developed consumer countries to insist on mitigation measures or to impose economic sanctions. Hence, many supplier countries have been forced to implement wildlife conservation measures to safeguard their export-driven marine fisheries. In this paper, we present an account of how the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, an iconic Marine Protected Area in eastern India, was created in such a context. We suggest that it serves as an ecological fix, i.e. a token spatial solution that removes environmental barriers to the accumulation of capital, and we describe how a combination of neoliberal actors has maintained it for more than two decades so as to greenwash subsequent industrialisation along the coast. Finally, we describe its social and ecological repercussions to highlight the contrast between ground realities and the win–win discourse that accompanies such efforts to integrate conservation with capitalistic production.