Pragmatic approaches for effective management of pelagic marine protected areas
The dynamic nature of pelagic environments presents unique challenges for management. Despite the sharp increase in the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) with large pelagic areas, or pelagic marine protected areas (PMPAs), little literature exists regarding on-the-ground approaches to their management, in large part due to the relative newness of many large-scale PMPAs. Here we attempt to highlight pragmatic solutions or recommendations for the management challenges of PMPAs, particularly regarding setting objectives, monitoring and compliance, drawing from examples of existing PMPA management when possible. We suggest using techniques such as structured decision making and multi-criteria decision analysis for setting management objectives and actions and reducing conflict that will be inherent across the multi-agency, multi-objective landscape of PMPAs. We suggest cost-effective strategies for monitoring of complex pelagic interactions and far-ranging species, including tiers of monitoring importance linked to funding levels, and highlight means of determining when monitoring is a necessity. Finally, we highlight techniques to increase compliance within PMPAs, such as participatory monitoring. We focus on enforcement across the large scales of PMPAs, such as setting and effectively integrating biological and enforcement priorities, and implementing cost-effective enforcement, particularly in remote regions, using techniques such as international enforcement partnerships and enforcement technologies. Our goal is not to give a complete framework for PMPA management, but to collate existing lessons and provide a baseline for managers to build from, and to provide insight for scientists looking to focus research efforts to aid in management of protected pelagic ecosystems.