Lyme Bay marine protected area: A governance analysis
The Marine Protected Area Governance (MPAG) framework can be used to analyse MPA governance by moving away from conceptual discussions to focus on particular governance approaches leading to effectiveness. The framework was applied to the Lyme Bay MPA, southwest England, the site of a controversial fisheries closure, which has subsequently been proposed as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), as well the location for an NGO-led project focusing on stakeholder engagement. This paper examines a broad range of perspectives on the governance of this MPA, via semi-structured interviews with representatives of different interest groups and document analyses. The MPAG framework found a governance structure with a diversity of incentives, providing for bottom-up stakeholder engagement and awareness-raising coupled with strong top-down legislative structures. Although the fisheries closure and subsequent SAC restrictions have provided the main mechanisms for protecting biodiversity, an NGO-led project has provided a complement to the legislative framework and helped to facilitate a mechanism for adaptive co-management. However, the site is predicted to be subject to external pressures from changes in legislation, state resource restrictions and reduced NGO involvement, which will test the resilience of the structure and whether such a diversity of incentives provides sufficient resilience to maintain MPA effectiveness in the face of these pressures.