# MPA Enforcement: How Practitioners Are Developing New Tools, Strategies, and Partnerships

Managing a marine protected area means managing people. If people do not comply with the regulations in place to protect an MPA's resources, the MPA will most likely fail to meet its goals. Education can play a major role in encouraging compliance, both by building community support for conservation and by informing the public about the penalties for noncompliance. But in cases where education is not enough, enforcement becomes necessary.

Enforcement - including surveillance and policing - can take many forms, depending on the budget and expertise available to MPA management and the geographic characteristics of the MPA. In November 2000, MPA News reported on the mix of high-tech and community-based strategies practitioners were employing at the time (MPA News 2:5). This month, we examine how managers and partners are continuing to develop new tools and strategies to make sure that MPA regulations are followed.

## Enforcement of vast, remote protected areas

A major development in the global MPA field in recent years has been the designation of several very large no-take MPAs, such as the 362,000-km2 Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the US and the 408,000-km2 Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati. While these vast closures represent an advance for conservation, they present big challenges for enforcement. Keeping a lookout for offenders in these wide expanses can be like searching for needles in a large, far-away haystack.

Technology and partnerships can be key to making enforcement work in such places. Take Operation Kurukuru, for example. Operation Kurukuru is a massive, international enforcement operation in the Western Pacific to detect illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, as well as smuggling and people trafficking. In 2009 over a span of 10 days, the operation:

• Covered an area of approximately 10 million km2, including the Exclusive Economic Zones of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu;
• Included fisheries surveillance and enforcement staff from each of the above countries, as well as their counterparts from Australia, New Zealand, France, and the US;
• Involved 7 Pacific Class patrol boats (from Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Vanuatu) and 1 French patrol boat; and
• Was supported by aerial surveillance provided by 4 maritime patrol aircraft (from Australia, New Zealand, France, and the US).

## Online training program available on reef resilience

A virtual training program is available on how to build resilience to climate change into coral reef MPAs. Created by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the free online course includes an introduction to coral bleaching, a description of the main principles of resilience, and recommendations on how to design and manage resilient coral reef MPAs. To enroll, go to www.conservationtraining.org and click on "Reef Resilience (Self-paced)".

## Survey: How should IUCN's protected area categories best be applied to MPAs?

An online survey seeks the views of MPA practitioners on how IUCN's protected area categories can best be applied to the marine environment. The six categories, which were designed for application in marine and terrestrial protected areas, range from "Strict Nature Reserve" to "Protected Area with Sustainable Use of Natural Resources". The survey is open through 12 April 2010, and can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/CBT7N86.

In 2008, IUCN developed new guidelines on applying the categories across all protected areas - terrestrial and marine (available at http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/PAPS-016.pdf). Findings from the current online survey will inform the drafting of an IUCN supplementary guidance document providing more detail on applying the categories specifically to MPAs.

## Article reveals lessons from scientific program to rezone the Great Barrier Reef

An article in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management describes the science-based process used earlier this decade to guide the rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Central to the process was the development of a set of biophysical operating principles that provided the basis for designing a network of no-take areas within the park. The 10 principles - which included protecting uniqueness, avoiding fragmentation, and protecting fewer, larger areas rather than more, smaller areas - are recommended by the paper's authors for application to MPA-planning processes elsewhere.

The article "A process to design a network of marine no-take areas: Lessons from the Great Barrier Reef" is available by subscription at http://bit.ly/crHhk1. However, the set of biophysical operating principles is available for free at http://bit.ly/b0PayC.

## Underwater sculptor looking for people to cast

Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor, who creates sculptures of human figures for underwater display in MPAs and was profiled in our September-October 2009 issue ("Applying the Arts to MPA Planning and Management", MPA News 11:2), is seeking people to cast as part of his latest installation. The installation will be submerged in the National Marine Park of Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc in Mexico, and ultimately will involve 400 figures. If you are interested in being immortalized in the installation, apply by sending a photo of yourself to info [at] underwatersculpture.com. Applicants must be available to travel to Cancun. For more information, go to www.underwatersculpture.com.

# Science spotlight: Global study shows MPAs help to stop coral loss

A global analysis of more than 8000 coral cover surveys from 1969-2006 has compared annual changes in coral cover inside MPAs to unprotected areas. The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, found that marine protected areas halted the loss of coral cover over time while coral cover on unprotected reefs continued to decline. In the most recent complete year in the study (2004-2005), for example, coral cover within MPAs increased 0.05% in the Caribbean and 0.08% in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In contrast, unprotected reefs in that same year declined 0.27% in the Caribbean and 0.41% in the Indo-Pacific.

The loss of coral cover does not immediately reverse upon MPA designation, perhaps due in part to the slow growth rates of many reef-building species, according to the study's authors. "The benefits of MPAs appear to increase with the number of years since MPA establishment," wrote Elizabeth Selig, currently of Conservation International, and John Bruno of the University of North Carolina (US).

There were regional differences in the time it took to see a benefit from MPAs to coral cover. In the Caribbean, coral cover continued to decline (albeit more slowly) for approximately 14 years on average after protection began; then it stopped declining and began increasing. In the Indo-Pacific, coral cover in MPAs continued to decline for five years on average before rebounding.

Selig speculates the regional differences may have to do with differences in fishing pressure and other local factors. "High-level exploitation of fisheries and the loss of top predators has been well-documented in the Caribbean, so it may take more time there to restore the natural dynamics that could lead to indirect benefits to corals," she says.

Notably, the authors included MPAs in their study that still allow fishing or have poor enforcement of regulations. So the study's findings may represent an underestimate of the benefits that could come from well-enforced, no-take protection, they write. The article "A Global Analysis of the Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in Preventing Coral Loss" is downloadable for free at www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0009278.