Do managers and stakeholders have congruent perceptions on marine protected area management effectiveness?
The assessment of management effectiveness is essential to measure how well marine protected areas (MPAs) are achieving their goals and objectives. Incorporating the view of multiple stakeholders is an important component of MPA planning and management as it may simultaneously help reduce conflicts and increase adherence to rules and compliance. However, the most assessments of MPA management effectiveness is undertaken solely based on managers' perceptions. Here, we compared the perceptions of management effectiveness among managers and the management council members of three Brazilian marine reserves. Council members include stakeholders from the public and private sectors with different backgrounds. Overall, the marine reserves were classified as having medium management effectiveness, with managers perceiving higher levels of effectiveness than the council members. The main differences were related to poor communication among managers and council members and the perception of lack of participation on management decisions by council members. Assessing different perspectives on management effectiveness gives a more comprehensive understanding of the situation. Communication between managers and stakeholders is essential to guarantee that management challenges are more equally recognized. We recommend that further evaluations consider the diversity of stakeholders involved in the management to get a more realistic assessment on management effectiveness. The gap between managers and stakeholders’ views is an important indicator because it is related to the level of alignment between MPA goals and society expectations.
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