September - October 2013 (15:2)

Issue PDF archive: PDF icon MPA134.pdf

The new Coalition Government of Australia, elected by national vote on 7 September, has announced its intent to review the boundaries and regulations of most of the nation's representative system of MPAs - namely the 33 sites that were designated in 2012 by the prior Labor Government. Those designations increased the national system of MPAs from 27 sites to 60, expanding the system to a total of 3 million km2 (MPA News 14:3 and 14:1). The sites include the 1-million km2 Coral Sea Marine Reserve, of which roughly half is no-take.

The planned review of the new marine parks is just the latest development for these sites. Their designation one year ago followed a series of public consultation processes conducted by the Labor Government amid strong support from conservation organizations and opposition from several fishing industry groups, the latter of which asserted the MPAs would cost revenue and jobs.

"Imposed without fair or adequate consultation"

The new Government is led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott; the environment minister is Greg Hunt. They say the MPAs were designated without proper consultation of industry, and that this must be amended before the sites are implemented further.

"The Coalition Government will as soon as is practicable suspend and review the flawed management plans for marine protected areas that were imposed without fair or adequate consultation," Hunt told MPA News. "We will make the decision-making process much more inclusive with the establishment of a Bioregional Advisory Panel for each of the five marine bioregions. To aid transparency in the decision-making process, we will also make public all peer-reviewed scientific evidence of threats to marine biodiversity within the marine protected areas." The membership of the advisory panels has not yet been announced.

Hunt says it is too soon to say whether the Government would support changing the management plans of the sites to allow fishing throughout their waters. "We will consider all factors of this issue very carefully," he says. "A sustainable fishing industry is an integral part of a strong primary producing sector, and a 'lock up' mentality is not necessarily the best way to protect our marine life. The biggest supporter of environmentally responsible fishing practices is the fishing industry itself because they don't want to harm the environment that provides them with a living." He says the nation's future direction on MPAs will be based on appropriate science, appropriate consultation, and a balanced outcome.


Bob Pressey, a professor of conservation planning at James Cook University in Queensland, was critical of the new MPAs when they were designated in 2012 ( He called them "residual" and suggested they were planned with a greater focus on avoiding any impact to the fishing industry - concentrating the no-take areas in relatively unfished offshore waters - rather than on real biodiversity conservation. Still, he says, that may be preferable to what is to come.

"The new Commonwealth MPAs certainly contributed little to marine conservation," says Pressey. "Potentially, though, things could get worse - in practice and in principle. In practice, the few no-take zones that offer real protection to species and ecosystems that would otherwise be exploited could be removed or reclassified to allow extraction. In principle, scientists and anyone else concerned about the future of Australia's marine biodiversity should be resisting the notion that MPAs can be changed with each new Federal Government. That would undermine the confidence of both conservationists and industry, making MPAs completely meaningless. Before the election, there was a clear emphasis [by the Federal Coalition] on garnering votes from the recreational fishing lobby and others who saw the new MPAs as a threat. None of this gives confidence that a more effective system of MPAs will come from the promised review."

Imogen Zethoven, director of the Coral Sea Campaign for The Pew Charitable Trusts, lauded the new MPAs when they were announced last year. She says criticism of the prior public consultation efforts as inadequate is untrue.

"The marine planning process involved six phases of public consultation: the release of biophysical profiles of each marine region; the release of maps for further assessment of potential reserves sites; the release of draft reserves; the proposal to proclaim reserves; the intent to develop management plans; and draft management plans," says Zethoven. "All stakeholders had extensive opportunities to comment. During the consultation about the draft reserves, the federal government held 245 targeted stakeholder meetings and 34 regional community information events. All up, the consultation process resulted in more than 750,000 public submissions."

Zethoven says previous Coalition governments in Australia had a history of marine protection, including designating the extensive network of no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the highly protected Heard Island and McDonald Islands Marine Reserve. She hopes the new Government will build on that legacy.

At least for now, time may be on the side of the MPAs legislatively. The marine park management plans passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, and will be automatically tabled in the Senate on the first sitting day of the new Parliament (late October or early November 2013). Although the new Government was sworn in already, the composition of the Senate does not change until July 2014 and the majority of current senators support the plans, says Zethoven. Therefore, the management plans could pass through the Senate in the coming months, she says - although what would happen to them after July 2014 would be another question.

For more information:

Tina McGuffie, Adviser, Office of the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister of the Environment, Canberra, Australia. Email: tina.mcguffie [at]

Bob Pressey, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Queensland, Australia. Email: bob.pressey [at]

Imogen Zethoven, Coral Sea Campaign, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Canberra, Australia. Email: IZethoven [at]

In a move aimed to help secure other nations' approval of a large new MPA in Antarctica's Ross Sea, New Zealand and the US have scaled back the size of their proposed protected area - from 2.28 million km2 to 1.34 million km2, a reduction of 41%.

The revised proposal is in response to meetings in July 2013 of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and its Scientific Committee, where the prior New Zealand/US proposal was discussed. In those meetings, members of the Scientific Committee questioned the size and location of the larger MPA. Russia also argued that CCAMLR did not have a legal mandate to declare MPAs at all, a conclusion that appeared to disregard previous consensus decisions on MPAs by CCAMLR Members, including Russia (MPA News 15:1). In addition, Ukraine argued that CCAMLR had no right to limit rational use.

Although the revised proposal is significantly smaller than its previous form, it would still amount to an enormous protected area, nearly all of which would be no-take (93%). Although the revision clarifies that the MPA would be subject to review and possible amendment every 10 years, it stops short of providing a sunset clause, under which the MPA would have a scheduled end date. China and other nations called for a sunset clause at the July meeting.

The revised proposal will be considered by CCAMLR at its annual meeting this October in Hobart, Australia. The revised proposal is at [Editor's note: A parallel proposal before CCAMLR for a network of MPAs in the Eastern Antarctic - proposed by Australia, France, and the European Union - remains unchanged and will be reconsidered by CCAMLR this October.]

Hoping that all Members will come to the table

Below, MPA News speaks with Evan Bloom - Director of the Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs at the US Department of State, and the US representative to CCAMLR - about the revised Ross Sea proposal:

MPA News: Why was the Ross Sea MPA proposal scaled back?

Evan Bloom: The United States and New Zealand revised the proposal to take into account advice provided by the Special Session of CCAMLR's Scientific Committee at Bremerhaven, Germany, in July. We are committed to using best available science in establishing CCAMLR MPAs, and we felt it was important to incorporate that advice and demonstrate that we were listening to comments from Members.

The revised proposal continues to provide key protections to the Ross Sea's unique biodiversity, benthic habitats, ecosystem processes, and marine living resources, albeit across a somewhat reduced area. Most of the reduction is in the northern Ross Sea Region and based on advice from the Scientific Committee that there was insufficient evidence to support the protection of seamount areas there for their value as habitats for spawning toothfish, as was originally proposed by the US and New Zealand. The Scientific Committee did advise, however, that seamount habitats are valuable for protection for other reasons and that a representative, but smaller, seamount area could be included in the MPA, which the revised proposal does. Although we believe that there is sufficient evidence to support precautionary protection of these areas for spawning, it is important to take into account the advice coming out of the Scientific Committee.

The revised MPA would encompass 1.34 million km2, roughly twice the size of the US state of Texas. If approved, it would be the largest MPA in the world and would include 1.25 million km2 of no-take area.

MPA News: At July's meeting, Russia questioned whether CCAMLR has the right to designate MPAs. Do you have reason to believe that Russia might be satisfied enough with the revisions to support the proposal in this form?

Bloom: We believe the revisions made to the proposal following the advice of the CCAMLR Scientific Committee address comments we have heard from a range of CCAMLR Members, including Russia. Like nearly every other CCAMLR Member, however, we have no doubt about CCAMLR's legal basis for establishing MPAs. As a testament to that authority, all CCAMLR Members joined consensus in the recent past to approve the Commission's first MPA in 2009, and later, in 2011, to institute guidelines for establishing CCAMLR MPAs. The Ross Sea proposal is consistent with CCAMLR's authority and guidelines for establishing MPAs. It is our hope that having reviewed our revised proposal, all Members will be willing to come to the table to negotiate a Ross Sea MPA at CCAMLR's next meeting.

MPA News: The revised proposal clarifies that there would be an opportunity to amend the MPA Conservation Measure every 10 years, although it stops short of providing a sunset clause. Would any such amendments - such as to reopen some or all of the closed areas to fishing - require consensus by the Commission?

Bloom: The Commission makes decisions on matters of substance by consensus, so yes, all Members would need to agree to amend the MPA following each 10-year period. That said, the Commission could amend the proposal in any year if it decided to do so. Just as Members could decide by consensus to open closed areas, however, they could also decide to add new areas to the MPA (e.g., as further data supports the identification of toothfish spawning areas).

For more information:

Evan T. Bloom, US Department of State. Email: bloomet [at]

Jonathan Kelsey, US Department of State. Email: kelseyj [at]

BOX: A response to the revised Ross Sea proposal from the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition

Claire Christian is Director of the Secretariat of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), a coalition of conservation organizations. Here she provides ASOC's response to the revised proposal for a Ross Sea MPA:

"We are quite disappointed by the large reduction in the size of the proposed Ross Sea MPA, which reduces protection for important seamounts and spawning areas. We understand the need to negotiate and to respond to the advice from the Scientific Committee at the Bremerhaven meeting. However, the proposal was released before obtaining support from critical CCAMLR Members, and before Russia and Ukraine indicated a willingness to engage in substantive discussions about the proposals on the table. Nevertheless, the proposal does leave protections for the shelf and slope, which are the heart of the ecosystem, intact.

"The revised proposal has not made any changes to the review clause, something that several CCAMLR Member countries have said they do not support in its current form: some of these Members have requested a sunset clause instead of an MPA with indefinite duration. Under a sunset clause, CCAMLR Members would have to reach a consensus decision to renew the MPA at the end of its designation period or the protections for the area would end. It would be very difficult to support an MPA with these conditions, as this would not qualify as an MPA under the IUCN categories. Moreover, protected areas are not usually designated with an end date, and this would be a very unfortunate precedent.

"CCAMLR has made a commitment to designate a network of MPAs. It has a long history of successfully tackling tough issues - seabird bycatch, IUU fishing - and if all Members come to the table in good faith in October, they will be able to honor that commitment. Already, some countries that had expressed some concerns about the East Antarctica and Ross Sea proposals showed themselves willing to work constructively at Bremerhaven. Now Russia and Ukraine must do the same. If they can do that, CCAMLR will once again show that it is a leader in protecting ecosystems."

For more information: Claire Christian, ASOC, Washington, DC, US. Email: claire.christian [at]

Dear MPA News:

I'm writing with regard to your article on the Great Barrier Reef, which is under threat of being added to the List of World Heritage in Danger due to plans for significant new port development in the region ("World Heritage Committee Addresses East Rennell and Great Barrier Reef", MPA News 15:1).

People should be made aware that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act provides that legislation made by the federal Government to prohibit or regulate activities that may harm animals or plants in the Marine Park - whether the activities originate within or outside the Marine Park - overrides any conflicting provisions or acts of the Queensland Government. Therefore, action to regulate or prohibit the proposed coal ports, etc., can be taken by the federal Government unilaterally.

Graeme Kelleher, AO
Kelleher served for 16 years as the first Chairman and CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and is a senior advisor to the World Commission on Protected Areas - Marine.

Note: All decisions of the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee, held in June 2013 and including a decision regarding the Great Barrier Reef, are available at

The Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress, or IMPAC3, will be held this 21-27 October in Marseille and Corsica, France. As the largest MPA-focused meeting in the world, IMPAC3 will feature more than 700 accepted abstracts (

It will also mark the debut of four new global task forces by the World Commission on Protected Areas - Marine, a co-organizer of IMPAC3 with the French MPA Agency. These task forces will cover marine mammal protected areas, community-based and local marine area management, very large MPAs, and outreach and communication practices on MPAs.

Currently there is just one marine task force under the WCPA - the High Seas Task Force. "IMPAC3 represents the start of a new era in our work," says Dan Laffoley, Chair of WCPA - Marine. "The new task forces will complement the high seas work, provide more engagement points for WCPA and IUCN members, and better align our community's capacity behind the Convention on Biological Diversity programme of work and the Aichi targets (including that 10% of global marine areas are effectively conserved by 2020). The four-fold increase in task forces represents a significant scale-up in our activities and reflects the increase in pace we need in MPA designation."

More on the new task forces is below.

Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force

To be run jointly by WCPA - Marine and the IUCN Species Survival Commission, this task force will produce two events at IMPAC3:

  1. A full-day workshop on the selection of criteria for the identification of Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs). Modeled on Birdlife International's Important Bird Areas concept, IMMAs are discrete portions of habitat, important to marine mammal species, which have potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. They are not MPAs in themselves, but rather areas that have been pre-selected for space-based conservation.

  2. A side event for the official presentation of the task force, explaining its mission, activities, products, and leadership, including co-chairs Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara and Erich Hoyt.

Community-Based and Local Marine Area Management Task Force

Designed to enhance knowledge-sharing among locally managed marine areas worldwide, this task force will draw lessons from networks of such sites already in place - mainly in Asia, the Pacific region, and the Western Indian Ocean. The Coral Triangle Center is helping to develop this task force with other partners, and anticipates launching specific outputs in 2014 at the World Parks Congress in Sydney.

Very Large MPAs Task Force

Formed from a partnership between WCPA - Marine and the Big Ocean network of large MPAs (, this task force will seek peer review and comments from participants at IMPAC3 on a consultative draft of the Guidelines for Design and Management of Large-Scale MPAs, under production by the task force. The task force will also use two workshop sessions to grow its membership, identify interested parties, and open a dialogue about participation.

Outreach and Communication Good Practices around MPAs Task Force

A partnership of WCPA - Marine and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, this task force is under development.

For more information: Dan Laffoley, WCPA - Marine. Email: danlaffoley [at]

BOX: How IMPAC3 will reflect the evolution of the MPA field: An interview with Dan Laffoley

In an interview with MPA News, Dan Laffoley of the World Commission on Protected Areas - Marine explains how the global MPA field has changed since the first IMPAC meeting in 2005, and how IMPAC3 will reflect today's MPA world. He also provides insights on how the new WCPA - Marine task forces will align with existing institutions and models of international marine conservation. For the interview, go to

BOX: Following IMPAC3 online

For those who cannot make it to Marseille, you will be able to follow some IMPAC3 activities live via the soon-to-be-launched Ocean+ WebTV, available on the congress website:

By Chris Cvitanovic

[Editor's note: Chris Cvitanovic is a marine and social scientist for the Climate Adaptation Flagship of CSIRO, Australia's national science agency.]

Like a lot of people reading this, the sea has always been a big part of my life. Despite growing up nearly 200 km from the coast in Australia, I was fortunate to spend most summers and weekends down at the beach, and I'll never forget the first time I donned a wetsuit at the age of 15 and went diving. It was then that I knew I wanted to make a difference, and to help protect the goods and services the ocean provides. When I was old enough, I packed my car and migrated 2500 km north to study marine biology at James Cook University, and, after graduation, to work for a time as a research assistant.

It was the exposure to some of the world's most respected coral reef ecologists that I valued most. I heard their tales of fieldwork gone wrong, had first-hand access to knowledge not written down in any manuscript or book, and understood what they considered the major issues hindering the successful management of marine resources. Time and time again I heard these people whom I respected identify bureaucracy and red tape as the major impediment to marine conservation. Indeed, decision-makers were often portrayed to me quite negatively as lacking any awareness of "how the real world works."

In 2007 I joined the Australian Government Department of Environment. I still remember my former colleagues in academia joking that I had sold my soul to join the dark side. I spent the following five years working on a range of marine policies and programs, including two years managing the Australian Government's MPA Research and Monitoring Program. This role gave me the opportunity to experience the bureaucracy and red tape first-hand and to confirm the stories I had heard before. But what I learned was unexpected: MPA decision-makers and scientists are not that different at all.

First, both groups care deeply about what they do: in most cases, working on MPAs is not just a job but a passion. Second, both groups recognize the value of science for informing management decisions, striving to find new ways to incorporate new research into the decision-making process. Third, both groups are extremely busy. While the way decision-makers and scientists go about their day-to-day lives differs substantially, both groups have heavy workloads and tight timeframes, meaning that priorities are set and non-compulsory activities are often lost. In most cases, extra-curricular communication and knowledge-transfer activities are among the first to be lost.

Studying the priorities and knowledge of managers and academics

I decided I wanted to explore these observations in greater depth. I teamed up with colleagues from the Western Australian Department of Environment and the Australian National University. We set out to assess what managers and academics perceive as the priorities for future research on MPAs in coral reef ecosystems, and in doing so we looked for possible mismatches in priorities that could signal a barrier to knowledge transfer.

As part of a study that was published this year in the Journal of Environmental Management, we asked 14 MPA managers and 16 MPA-oriented academics from across 11 institutions to outline what they perceived as the most critical research needs for improving coral reef management. We then asked the participants to rank each question in terms of perceived urgency, importance, and feasibility.

Our results:

  • The mismatch between MPA managers and academics was small, with no significant difference in terms of respective research interests or the type of research questions they posed.

  • Minor differences were observed in relation to the priorities of each group, with managers prioritizing spatial management and monitoring as research themes, while academics identified climate change, resilience, spatial management, fishing, and connectivity as the most important topics.

  • Ranking of the posed questions by the two groups was similar, although managers were less confident of the achievability of the posed research questions.

  • Managers often indicated that they did not have sufficient knowledge to assess whether or not the posed question represented an actual information gap, suggesting that managers were largely unaware of the existing breadth of scientific information that could be used to inform the decision-making process.

Closing the knowledge gap

The last bullet there - i.e., that academics are more up-to-date than managers on the latest scientific research - is perhaps not surprising but provides a clear opportunity for improvement. That is, if MPA management is to be as knowledge-based as possible, the information gap between academics and managers should be closed and knowledge transfer maximized.

We identified the co-production of knowledge as one method for increasing knowledge transfer. Under this approach, research teams would consist of both decision-makers and scientists to ensure that the information requirements of both groups are discussed and jointly understood before executing a study. Importantly, interpretation and dissemination of the new information would be developed to meet the needs of both groups. We also explored the importance of intermediaries, such as knowledge brokers or boundary-spanning organizations, as a method for improving knowledge transfer, drawing on lessons learned from the medical sciences who have already adopted this approach. Finally, we advocated for knowledge transfer to be viewed as a multi-directional process, where both groups are accountable for ensuring that research needs and findings are articulated, freely available, and understandable to all stakeholders.

Achieving such improved information flow, while simple in concept, must be done in a cost- and time-effective way. This will require each group to move beyond traditional approaches to information sharing. The time for this is ripe with growing options for communication associated with social media. Finally, and to draw a quote directly from my paper, "Moving forward as a collaborative unit will inevitably improve the management of coral reef resources, ensuring the long-term persistence of coral reefs and the livelihoods of the millions of people worldwide that depend upon them."

Note: The study "Critical research needs for managing coral reef marine protected areas: Perspectives of academics and managers" by Cvitanovic et al. was published in 2013 in the Journal of Environmental Management:

For more information:
Chris Cvitanovic
, Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO, Black Mountain, ACT, Australia. Email: Christopher.cvitanovic [at]

Scotland releases plan for network of MPAs

Scotland's Government has released a proposed plan to manage all activity in Scottish waters, from energy production to conservation and more. The plan includes a network of 33 proposed MPAs that together would cover 11% of Scottish seas. Public consultation on the proposed plan is open until 13 November 2013. For more information on the plan and consultation, go to

Oil spilled in South African MPA; storms and cleanup teams remove much of it

On 9 August 2013, a German-owned cargo ship ran aground in South Africa's 40-km2 Goukamma Marine Protected Area, spilling 50 tons of heavy fuel oil into the water and blackening the beach and wildlife. The South African National Parks website provides several news releases from 12-19 August detailing the progress of response efforts, including the towing of the vessel to 110 nm offshore where it was scuttled in deep water ( A news report from 25 September provides details on the aftermath of the spill, including how a series of storms helped break up and disperse much of the oil from the MPA's shoreline ( Teams of cleanup workers also collected and removed several tons of oiled sand.

The Goukamma MPA was in the news in August for another reason as well: an article published that month in the journal Nature Communications suggests the no-take MPA has led to increases in yield for adjacent fisheries. A brief press release, along with a link to the article, is at

Report: Nine proposed MPAs in Haiti provide ecosystem services worth US $10 billion per year

An assessment of the value of ecosystem services provided by nine proposed MPA sites in Haiti concludes that the sites are collectively worth almost US $10 billion per year to the nation, namely through their support for fisheries, tourism, and shoreline protection. According to the assessment, one particular site in Caracol Bay accounts for more than $3 billion in ecosystem services, due to the good health of its mangroves and coral reefs. (The site measures roughly 100 km2.) The report calls for all nine sites to be designated as MPAs. It was produced by the ReefFix project, a program that works with Small Island Developing States to restore and manage coastal resources, and supported by the governments of Mexico and Monaco. "Toward the Development of Haiti's System of Marine Protected Areas" is available at

US National Marine Sanctuaries testing drone aircraft for science, monitoring

The US Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has been testing the use of small, hand-launched drone aircraft in a few of its MPAs over the past year, gauging their usefulness for various tasks. The tasks include non-intrusive wildlife surveys, documenting marine debris, monitoring of oil spills, and surveillance, among others. A NOAA press release on the use of unmanned aircraft in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is at A September 2013 article in the Miami Herald newspaper on the testing of drones in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and other sites is at

New paper on enabling conditions for MPAs

A new policy brief produced by the Nicholas Institute for Policy Solutions at Duke University (US) outlines nine enabling conditions for MPAs. The conditions, presented in the form of guidance, include "Define objectives clearly and examine their social implications", "Identify local demand for marine protection and create a constituency", "Make sure the scale of protection is appropriate to the available resources", and more.

The 14-page policy brief also examines common challenges to the planning and management of MPAs, and poses several questions aimed at spurring discussion. Authored by Linwood Pendleton and Michelle Lotker, the paper "Enabling Conditions and Outstanding Challenges in Marine Protection and Management" is available at

New report on governance of protected areas

A new report from IUCN examines governance of protected areas, drawing on case studies from around the world. It walks readers through four governance types for protected areas - governance by government; shared governance (across boundaries or involving diverse institutions); private governance; and governance by indigenous peoples and local communities - as well as challenges involved in each. It also explores principles of good governance. The report does not examine governance of MPAs in particular, but its lessons are generally applicable across terrestrial and marine environments. Governance of Protected Areas is at

Take survey to help shape successor to Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching

The 2006 book A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching - published by NOAA, IUCN, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - remains a useful resource on adapting coral reef management to a changing climate. However, knowledge of the threats of climate change, as well as techniques to address those threats, is constantly evolving. A new survey aims to learn from reef managers how a follow-up to the book could best meet their changing information needs. Conducted by Bonnie DeJoseph at the University of Washington, the survey seeks to identify the reef management community's use of information tools in general, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the 2006 guide. [The survey is now closed.]

Clarification: Phoenix Islands

The lead article in our July-August 2013 issue, "The Reverse Fishing License Mechanism for Kiribati's Phoenix Islands Protected Area: An Experiment in MPA Financing", was intentionally vague regarding the nature of a donation (both donor and amount) made in June 2013 to the PIPA Conservation Trust. The vagueness was by request of the Trust and Conservation International (CI), who said publicizing details of the donation could compromise another, forthcoming financial commitment. MPA News apologizes to readers for the vagueness. On 24 September, Conservation International officially publicized the June donation: US $2.5 million from CI, which has since been matched by $2.5 million from Kiribati (

Editor's note: The LMMA Network supports learning, advocacy, partnership, and institutional development for community-driven marine resource management and conservation, including through the use of locally-managed marine areas or LMMAs ( In this recurring feature "LMMA Lessons", the network offers insights that its practitioners have gathered over the past decade.

LMMA Lessons: Appropriate ground rules for non-local partners in community-based management

[Adapted from Locally-Managed Marine Areas: A Guide to Supporting Community-Based Adaptive Management, 2008, LMMA Network]

Community-based management should fundamentally guarantee the primacy of and respect for community rights. All practitioners and communities that work within the LMMA Network ideally subscribe to a social contract that is reflected in duties to ensure prior informed consent on intellectual property and other issues. This respect should be manifested in the actions and attitudes of partners in community-based management, particularly those for whom the culture is unfamiliar. Partners should develop ground rules for their team members. Examples are:

  • Fit into the community and establish rapport. Share meals and accommodations. Follow the local dress code and be sensitive to local culture. If you are not sure what to do, ask.

  • Use the local language unless you are absolutely sure all participants can understand and are comfortable with the language you are speaking. Use an interpreter if necessary.

  • Always listen to answers and do not interrupt. Be humble.

  • Be gender sensitive. Be conscious of appropriateness of language and gestures.

  • Respect confidentiality; do not spread gossip or divulge sensitive community information to which you have privileged access.