LMMA Lessons: How Communities Prepare for Managing their Marine Resources

MPA News

The LMMA Network is a group of practitioners working to improve locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) in the Indo-Pacific by sharing knowledge and resources. Active for more than a decade, the network now involves hundreds of LMMA sites across seven countries: Fiji, Indonesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pohnpei, and Solomon Islands.

Practitioners in other world regions are starting to look to the LMMA Network for lessons and inspiration ("Creation of a Network of Locally Managed Marine Areas in the Western Indian Ocean", MPA News 13:3). In this light, MPA News presents this new feature "LMMA Lessons", drawing on the accumulated knowledge of LMMA practitioners.

Below is an excerpt from the 2009 report Coming Together: Sharing Lessons from the 2008 LMMA Network-wide Meeting Community Exchange, available at www.lmmanetwork.org :

Keys to successful resource management planning:

  • Recognize "management planning" is not just for conservation goals. Communities have various issues outside of dwindling marine resources, such as health, sanitation, livelihoods, poverty, etc. Communities should discuss and incorporate these into their management plan.
  • Encourage community-wide participation in management planning - otherwise you risk having limited views in developing goals and objectives, and only a few individuals active in the implementation of the plan.
  • Recognize the different roles played in communities by different stakeholder groups - for example, elders, women, youth, teachers, etc. Planning should address each group's concerns and activities within the marine areas.
  • Resource rules should be stated simply in a way that is understandable to everyone in the community.
  • Choose a location for the protected area where coral health is already good and where there are a lot of fishes. It is difficult to achieve timely and persuasive results with an area that is heavily damaged.
  • Ultimately, aim to have more than one protected area in each community. For example, having two protected areas - one temporary and one permanent - allows for one to be opened for food consumption on very special occasions, such as a death or traditional function in the village, while the permanent one stays closed.