Science-based management of MPAs
Posted by Jennifer OLeary | California, United States
Many scientists are now calling for 30% of the ocean in marine protected areas (MPAs). In the last year, more MPAs have been designated than ever before in history. However, our capacity to manage MPAs effectively lags far behind MPA establishment, and the majority of MPAs do not have targeted objectives to track progress toward desired states.
There is a huge need to develop realistic, science based and targeted objectives for MPAs, work with managers to implement monitoring programs using appropriate indicators to assess progress toward objectives, and decision-making tools to select and evaluate appropriate management actions when progress is not adequate (e.g. adaptive management).
This requires capacity building of managers, scientific input, and flexible, science-based management frameworks used by government agencies and local communities.