MPA Tip: Coordinating Research in an MPA

MPA News

The following tip was adapted by MPA News from Managing Marine Protected Areas: A Toolkit for the Western Indian Ocean, published by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). The toolkit is available at www.wiomsa.org/mpatoolkit/Home.htm.

Tip: Appropriate research on ecological and socio-economic issues is essential for effective management of an MPA. However, it is rare for a management agency to be able to fund all the necessary studies. Therefore assistance from external sources - other agencies, universities, NGOs - is often needed. To manage this research, MPA managers should:

  • Prepare a research strategy. The strategy identifies the MPA's key research needs and priorities, which can be provided to researchers who ask to work in the MPA.
  • Develop a code of conduct for researchers so that they fully understand how they are expected to behave in the MPA and what the regulations are.
  • Ensure that visiting researchers work closely with the MPA staff; if possible, assign staff members to the research studies so that they can learn from the work being carried out.
  • Ensure that regular feedback on research underway in the MPA is provided to staff and other interested stakeholders, such as through informal talks or seminars by the researchers.
  • Compile and keep up-to-date a bibliography of research carried out in the MPA.
  • To the extent possible, provide basic research facilities, such as a field laboratory, information about the area (a standard site description is useful), simple accommodation, assistance with transportation on site, and guides, translators, and other assistants. Establish clear charge rates for use of the facilities.