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Measuring the performance of spatial management in marine protected areas
Kemp, J.; Jenkins, G.P.; Smith, D.C.; Fulton, E.A. (2012). Measuring the performance of spatial management in marine protected areas. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 50: 287-314
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Kemp, J.
  • Jenkins, G.P.
  • Smith, D.C.
  • Fulton, E.A.

    Management within a spatial context is progressively becoming more common in marine systems as part of a global movement towards ecologically sustainable development and ecosystem-based management. To understand the implications of spatial management fully, there need to be clear ecological, social and economic management objectives and a system in place allowing measurement of the performance of spatial management in relation to these objectives. Although fisheries management is becoming increasingly spatially explicit, it lags developments in marine conservation, in which marine protected areas (MPAs) have been used extensively. This chapter reviews monitoring for achievement of ecological objectives of spatial management of marine systems and associated performance measures in a range of countries where long-term monitoring of MPAs has been established. The review summarizes spatial management objectives, performance measures, monitoring methodology and primary outcomes and provides a summary of the metrics (variables) and performance measures used worldwide. Reviewed studies aimed to monitor within-reserve effects (e.g., biomass accumulation) and outside-reserve effects (e.g., export of accumulated biomass or propagules across the reserve boundary, i.e., spillover). The review highlights that the objectives of spatial management were often very general and poorly defined. Objectives need to be framed in a way that management performance can be assessed through monitoring. A suite of appropriate metrics is available for this monitoring; however, planning for performance assessment must begin at the time of initial planning for the spatial management, rather than relying on ad hoc studies once the management regime is in place. In framing management objectives, many agencies have considered a relatively small spatial scale, associated with individual MPAs and adjacent areas. In the future, management objectives should be set at a regional scale so that the overall performance of the system can be determined, including assessing how the cessation of certain activities within MPAs displaces pressures on the environment. There needs to be a strong commitment to continued performance assessment; for example, many of the effects of MPAs are not evident for at least a decade. Investment in spatial management is likely to increase considerably in the coming years, broadening in scope from the current concentration on MPA management, particularly in response to the increasing focus on spatially explicit fisheries management and the ecological effects of fishing, and on environmental perturbations such as pollution and climate change. Performance measures for this type of monitoring need to be based as much as possible on sound ecological knowledge of responses to perturbations, rather than the arbitrary setting of limits with little ecological basis.

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