Although the importance of socioeconomic factors in conservation planning is increasingly recognized, there are few examples demonstrating how such factors can be practically incorporated into the design of protected area networks. Here, we illustrate how spatial zoning software can be used to consider local marine tenure explicitly in the design of marine protected area (MPA) networks, using a case study from the Philippines. By stipulating the minimum area of fishing grounds that must remain open to each local fishing community, we were able to design MPA networks that impacted local resource users more equitably and were therefore more likely to be socioeconomically viable. MPA networks that considered local tenure boundaries had a greater overall area and cost than those that sought to minimize costs to small-scale fishers as a single stakeholder group. However, in this context, established concepts of “efficiency” in conservation planning are likely to be less important than minimizing costs to each fishing community individually.