Marine Protected Area Network Design Features that Support Resilient Human-Ocean Systems
In 2013 I lead a collaborative research effort to synthesize the general design guidelines for marine protected area (MPA) networks that strive to meet ecological, governance, social and cultural objectives. This work was initially done as a contract for the Kitasoo/XaiXais First Nation and Great Bear Initiative Society, however the report findings have been presented widely, integrated into the DFO-led MPA Network planning initiative, and shared across Canada.
Summary of the report: In this report, we synthesize the overarching principles and general guidelines that underpin the establishment of MPA networks designed to meet ecological, governance, social and cultural objectives, based on the peer-reviewed literature. These guidelines are supported by scientific research, institutional experience and global case studies, and take a social-ecological systems approach to marine conservation. Our synthesis suggests the successful establishment and effective management of MPA networks depend on legitimate and effective governance arrangements that can accommodate ecological criteria while considering the perspectives and input of local resource users and stakeholders. Planners, managers and decision-makers can use the guidelines summarized in this report to support the process of MPA network design in their local contexts. We discuss how several of the design guidelines apply to the Pacific region of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada, given the federal and provincial governments have committed to establishing a bioregional network of MPAs.
Specifically, this report contains:
• Ecological principles and guidelines for MPA network design, with discussion and recommendations on how each of these principles could be applied in B.C.;
• Species-specific movement and larval duration estimates for a selection of marine species of ecological, economic, cultural and conservation importance in B.C., with recommendations on how this can inform guidelines on the size and spacing of MPA networks in B.C.;
• Overarching principles from global literature on good governance of MPAs and MPA networks;
• Design goals and strategies for achieving different social objectives in MPA and MPA network planning; and
• Opportunities and challenges for integrating local knowledge systems (focus on Traditional Ecological Knowledge) into marine planning and MPA design.
• An assessment of relevant B.C. policy documents using the ecological and good governance guideline frameworks.
Community-lead Marine Planning in Howe Sound
I have had the pleasure to be actively involved in the organizing of a blossoming marine planning initiative in Howe Sound, BC. I helped lead the organization and facilitation two large forums that brought together First Nations, aquatic researchers, aquatic-focused community groups, businesses, and institutions to gather knowledge and discuss visions and goals.
(will add more to this later)