MPA practitioners can benefit in learning from the experience of their peers, particularly when addressing similar challenges. But with MPAs spread out across the world, the transfer of knowledge among practitioners can be a challenge in itself. Without ways of networking peers - and their knowledge - across potentially great distances, the planning and management of marine protected areas can suffer.
Assisting with overseeing the design and implementation of the LMMA Network (described in the previous article) is a US-based not-for-profit organization, Foundations for Success (FOS). Established in 2000, FOS aims to improve the practice of nature conservation by coordinating the sharing of lessons learned among networks of practitioners. Nick Salafsky, a founder of FOS, works closely with the LMMA Network as well as other learning networks worldwide.
Editor's note: The social and political unrest facing the Galapagos Marine Reserve, described in the article below, holds serious potential consequences for one of the world's best-known MPAs. It also reflects challenges this MPA shares with other sites worldwide, including the continual pressure to readjust the balance of resource use and conservation amid changing economic and ecological circumstances.
Dear MPA News:
In supporting what Adrian Phillips said in the February MPA News (MPA News 5:7) about failures in local management, I'd like to quote from my paper in the proceedings of the 2000 International Coral Reef Symposium in Bali entitled "The Development and Establishment of Coral Reef Marine Protected Areas", as follows:
Report: Most coral reefs may disappear by 2050 due to climate change
The December 2003/January 2004 issue of MPA News offered two essays by scientists on marine reserve research. One questioned the rigor with which reserve research has been conducted, while the other explained difficulties involved in studying reserves, including finding adequate control sites. The essays presented a dilemma: we all want the best science on reserves, but to get it will require significantly more time and money - resources that are already scarce for managers.
Australia to compensate fishers impacted by MPAs
The list of potential benefits from closing ocean areas to extractive uses include the conservation of biodiversity within these reserves and the improvement of conditions for fisheries outside of them - the latter owing to the export of larvae and spillover of adults from the protected areas. Some marine reserves have been designated with both conservation and increased fisheries yields as goals, seeking a win-win situation for biodiversity and fishermen.
By Trevor Willis, Russell Millar, Russ Babcock & Nick Tolimieri