The Convention on Biological Diversity mandates the establishment of Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks worldwide, with recommendations stating the importance of ‘ecological coherence,’ a responsibility to support and perpetuate the existing ecosystem, implying the need to sustain population connectivity. While recommendations exist for integrating connectivity data into MPA planning, little advice exists on how to assess the connectivity of existing networks. This study makes use of recently observed larval characteristics and freely available models to demonstrate how such an assessment could be undertaken. The cold water coral (CWC) Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus, 1758) is used as a model species, as much of the NE Atlantic MPA network has been designated for CWC reef protection, but the ecological coherence of the network has yet to be assessed. Simulations are run for different behavioural null models allowing a comparison of ‘passive’ (current driven) and ‘active’ (currents + vertical migration) dispersal, while an average prediction is used for MPA assessment. This model suggests that the network may support widespread larval exchange and has good local retention rates but still has room for improvement. The best performing MPAs were large and central to the network facilitating transport across local dispersal barriers. On average, passive and active dispersal simulations gave statistically similar results, providing encouragement to future local dispersal assessments where active characteristics are unknown.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
Marine Protected Areas (MPA) can be powerful coastal management tools with several specific goals, although there is debate concerning their effectiveness. There is no consensus regarding the ideal size of MPAs, and actually there is some evidence that perhaps size is not as critical as other specific factors in determining their success in terms of populations’ protection and ecological functions conservation. On the other hand, depending on the objectives, zones with different classification regimes in terms of rules and uses might enable the maintenance of the intended uses.
At this light, we examined the case of the small (605 002 m2) rocky shore area of Avencas, near Lisbon, on the Atlantic western Coast of Portugal, which was classified as Biophysical Interest Zone (ZIBA) in 1998, due to its exceptional intertidal biodiversity, after what its protection status became controversial, leading to conflicts with the local population and incompliance with extant regulations. From 2010 efforts were carried out by local authorities to reclassify Avencas as Marine Protected Area, which was achieved in 2016.
Monitoring intertidal communities in a MPA and adjacent areas is an effective and low-cost procedure to evaluate the evolution of the biodiversity of rocky shores. Therefore, antedating the creation of the new MPA, assessments of the ZIBA biodiversity were conducted from January 2013 to December 2015 on a monthly basis. This timeline was selected as a function of a change in visitors’ behavior induced from 2013 by several management and outreach initiatives, which increased in a certain extent the user’s compliance with regulations.
A positive evolution was expected for density and/or species diversity of the different groups analysed (flora, sessile fauna and mobile fauna) in this three years period. However, a very strong storm occurred in 2014 produced a significant impact and changed large areas of the Avencas rocky shore. As a consequence, results did not display a recognizable recovery pattern of the intertidal communities, and following that extreme event are not even consistent with a hypothesized enhanced recovery capability of the ecosystem in a protected area. This suggests that longer data series are necessary to obtain more robust data regarding natural variability, since alterations caused by extreme events are always likely to occur. Additionally, results illustrate that indeed size matters because it influences the MPA openness, expressed as the ratio of periphery to area, and therefore its susceptibility to external driving forces. Such considerations must be taken into account in any management plan, which in this case should encompass an increase in the intertidal protected area, a new conditioned small-scale fishing regime, and an adequate monitoring programme to evaluate the effectiveness of the new management scheme.
The UK network of Marine Protected Areas and the application of management measures to protect conservation features has grown over the past decade. Bodies that regulate activities within MPAs require advice from ‘statutory’ conservation bodies. Therefore to assess the developing MPA networks resilience it is important to assess the ability of bodies to provide effective conservation advice. Thus ‘Natural England’ officers were interviewed to assess their ability to provide scientific advice on the impacts of operations in English MPAs. Results highlight the opinions of UK statutory conservation advisors to be able to provide concrete evidence on the impact of MPA designations and management measures. Response scores were ranked from 1 to 5, with 1 representing a low score, and 5, high. For governance, there was a very positive response to the structures in place to provide conservation advice (4.5). However, in terms of the finance available to provide adequate scientific advice, responses scored lower at 3.1. The majority of NE respondents believe the budget available for ‘feature condition assessment’ to be insufficient for the current MPA network, with most advice derived from ‘expert judgement’ based on the precautionary principle rather than site-based observation of ‘cause-and-effect’ from different human activities. Yet although budgets are a problem, the relationship between Natural England and local fisheries regulators is very healthy, resulting in better joined-up communication over management measures applied to stakeholders. Hence this research recommends the development of private-public partnerships (co-management initiatives) to reduce costs, bring in affected stakeholders and their assets, and improve trust.
Genetic analyses of marine population structure often find only slight geographic differentiation in species with high dispersal potential. Interpreting the significance of this slight genetic signal has been difficult because even mild genetic structure implies very limited demographic exchange between populations, but slight differentiation could also be due to sampling error. Examination of genetic isolation by distance, in which close populations are more similar than distant ones, has the potential to increase confidence in the significance of slight genetic differentiation. Simulations of one-dimensional stepping stone populations with particular larval dispersal regimes shows that isolation by distance is most obvious when comparing populations separated by 2–5 times the mean larval dispersal distance. Available data on fish and invertebrates can be calibrated with this simulation approach and suggest mean dispersal distances of 25–150 km.
Design of marine reserve systems requires an understanding of larval transport in and out of reserves, whether reserves will be self-seeding, whether they will accumulate recruits from surrounding exploited areas, and whether reserve networks can exchange recruits. Direct measurements of mean larval dispersal are needed to understand connectivity in a reserve system, but such measurements are extremely difficult. Genetic patterns of isolation by distance have the potential to add to direct measurement of larval dispersal distance and can help set the appropriate geographic scales on which marine reserve systems will function well.
Public participation was one of the hallmarks of the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a planning process to support the redesign of California's system of marine protected areas (MPAs). The MLPA Initiative implemented innovative and unconventional public outreach and engagement strategies to assist local communities share relevant knowledge and data, and provide timely and targeted contributions to MPA planning discussions. This collaborative model helped broaden traditional forms of participation to ensure public input received and integrated into MPA planning legitimately reflected the interests and priorities of California's coastal communities. A number of considerations were critical to the success of this collaborative approach, including: understanding the needs and limitations of public audiences; working directly with communities to identify appropriate outreach and engagement strategies; prioritizing strategies that supported a multi-directional exchange of information; adapting strategies based on public feedback and internal lessons learned; and hiring professional public engagement specialists. Strategies evolved over time and increased the level and quality of public participation over this multi-stage planning process. Experiences gained from the MLPA Initiative can be used to encourage consideration of collaborative participation in other environmental planning and decision-making processes.
Stakeholder engagement in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can be described as a process of maturity from initial stages to more developed and self-sustaining stages. At early stages, practitioners may consult stakeholder communities as they plan, designate and implement an MPA. As the MPA development process evolves, stakeholders take a more active role, reaching consensus on MPA structure and management, and then perhaps negotiating with MPA managers to ensure their specific goals and values are represented. At full maturity, MPAs may share authority between their management body and stakeholders, or even transfer authority completely to local communities, with the MPA management authority only providing advice and consultation.
It is critical to note that the participatory engagement of stakeholders is perhaps the most important component of the planning and development of an MPA. Meaningful engagement depends on the ability of practitioners to build a healthy, lasting, and trustful relationship with stakeholders, including local communities. The approaches described in this guidebook are intended to help practitioners navigate this process of stakeholder engagement.
A series of five steps as shown in the figure below have been developed in workshops and training sessions over several years: Understanding and engaging stakeholders; Getting started with stakeholders; Participatory problem solving; Stakeholders as advisors; and Co-management approaches. Each step includes progressively greater participation from stakeholders and increasingly more shared responsibility with the MPA management authority.
At each step toward increased stakeholder engagement maturity, different techniques will be required. Some techniques and/or tools may be more useful at some stages of the MPA process than others. For example, creating an advisory body or engaging in a cooperative management approach will probably not be important to focus on in the beginning stages, when a MPA manager is just beginning to work with stakeholders. At these early stages, it is more important to focus on building trust and engaging stakeholders. However, it is good to keep in mind that advisory bodies and cooperative management will become useful in the later steps of MPA development. MPA practitioners should be able to quickly reference those tools that are most useful at each step of the MPA process.
This guidebook does not provide complete details about the steps and techniques listed; those are provided in many other documents. Instead, this serves as a helpful guide for practitioners who need guidance on the steps and techniques for engaging stakeholders in MPA management.
The Dogger Bank is a subtidal hill in the North Sea that is a candidate Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive in UK waters. Historical records indicate that the Bank has been subject to human exploitation from before the 16th century but conservation objectives have been developed using recent survey data. This has the potential to significantly underestimate the alteration this ecosystem has experienced, making the Dogger Bank an example of shifting baseline syndrome in protected area management. We compile quantitative and qualitative descriptions from historical records of change in catch rates, fishing effort, price and fish size to show that there have been prolonged declines in abundance of fish on the Bank since the early 19th century. Use of present day data to inform conservation has led to unambitious recovery targets. Historical data, we argue, are an essential input to conservation decision making.
Tourism is a financing mechanism considered by many donor-funded marine conservation initiatives. Here we assess the potential role of visitor entry fees, in generating the necessary revenue to manage a marine protected area (MPA), established through a Global Environmental Facility Grant, in a temperate region of Chile. We assess tourists’ willingness to pay (WTP) for an entry fee associated to management and protection of the MPA. Results show 97 % of respondents were willing to pay an entrance fee. WTP predictors included the type of tourist, tourists’ sensitivity to crowding, education, and understanding of ecological benefits of the MPA. Nature-based tourists state median WTP values of US$ 4.38 and Sun-sea-sand tourists US$ 3.77. Overall, entry fees could account for 10–13 % of MPA running costs. In Chile, where funding for conservation runs among the weakest in the world, visitor entry fees are no panacea in the short term and other mechanisms, including direct state/government support, should be considered.
his guide describes over 30 mechanisms for financing the conservation of marine biodiversity, both within and outside of MP As. Its main purpose is to familiarize conservation professionals i.e., the managers and staff of government conservation agencies, international donors, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)-with a menu of options for financing the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity. A number of economic incentive mechanisms for marine conservation (as contrasted with revenue-raising mechanisms) are also presented in section 5 (on Real Estate and Development Rights) and section 6 (on Fishing Industry Revenues).
Each section provides a description of the financing mechanism and examples showing how the mechanism has been used to finance marine conservation. In some cases, even though a mechanism may have only been used to finance terrestrial conservation, it has been included in this guide because of its potential to also serve as a new source of funding for marine conservation. This guide is not intended to provide detailed instructions on how to establish and implement each of the different conservation financing mechanisms. Instead references are provided at the end of each section for sources of additional information about each of the mechanisms described. Citations to specific references are also included in the text in parentheses.
Over the past two years, discussions on Protected Area (PA) finance have formed a key agenda item during global deliberations on biodiversity conservation. Both the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress (Durban, September 2003) and the seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Kuala Lumpur, February 2004) observed that insufficient investment is being made in biodiversity conservation in general and protected areas in particular. Both meetings called for innovative approaches to generate the additional funding required to ensure that biodiversity of global, national and local significance is conserved. A recent international meeting on biodiversity science and governance, hosted by UNESCO and the government of France (Paris, January 2005), likewise identified finance as one of several critical issues to be addressed if the world is to meet the CBD/WSSD 2010 Biodiversity Target. A particular concern in all of these processes has been the level and types of funding available for PAs, which lie at the core of global efforts to conserve biodiversity.