Guidance and Lessons Learned for Canada's Marine Protected Area Networks

Proceedings of a national workshop held in Ottawa in January 2008

3.0 Good Practices Guidance for Marine Protected Areas Network Planning

PRESENTATIONS

A growing body of guidance and reference materials is being developed to support countries in meeting their commitments with respect to MPA networks. Invited experts gave presentations on guidance tools and documentation that the IUCN/WCPA and CBD have developed. (A planned presentation on the recent guidance document from the FAO was cancelled when the presenter was unable to attend; however, the report was made available and helped inform the ensuing discussion).Footnote 11 The presentations, panels, and small-group discussions indicated that a clear consensus is now emerging on what constitutes good practice for MPA network design and planning.

3.1 Presentation Based on the IUCN/WCPA Marine Guidance

Establishing MPA Networks: Exploring Their Importance and Feasibility

Presenter: Tundi Agardy, Sound Seas, on behalf of IUCN

Agardy couched the IUCN/WCPA guidance in terms of her own reflections on the current state of marine conservation, noting the gulf between what needs to be done and what has been achieved thus far. This disconnect, she suggested, is partly a scaling problem: large-scale policy and priority setting occurs on a scale different from that of real conservation action on a local, site-based level. Small, opportunistic, vulnerable MPAs are often proving to be too little, too late. We know we have to think big, but our interventions are invariably too small to make a difference. One potentially powerful solution is the establishment of large-scale MPA networks.

Agardy made a distinction, however, between true ecologically designed networks of MPAs and administrative systems of sites. Networks offer magnified regional benefits, linkages, and economies of scale (perhaps accruing only once the full network is in place), but must be systematically and strategically designed from an ecological point of view.

These benefits may be crucial to:

  • Achieving ecosystem-based fisheries management;
  • Protecting threatened species, particularly those that are migratory;
  • The high seas, where networks of MPAs can help to focus attention on key threats; and
  • Linking MPAs effectively with coastal and upland management.

The questions of how best to design ecological networks - what species and habitats should be captured, what threats should be addressed, what role users should play, and how sites should be located - are the focus of the IUCN/WCPA guidelines.

To facilitate network establishment, the guidelines address several key aspects of building MPA networks (figure 1):

  • The need for MPA networks;
  • The ecological design criteria;
  • Best practices for planning and implementation;
  • The wider context for MPA networks; and
  • Critical elements that need to be in place to "make it happen."
Key aspects of building MPA networks

Figure 1. Key aspects of building MPA networks

Of particular interest to the workshop participants were the ecological design criteria, considered to be at the heart of the IUCN/WCPA framework. These criteria are:

  • Representativeness, or representativity (capturing diversity);
  • Replication (hedging bets);
  • Viability (maintaining integrity);
  • Precautionary design (moving ahead with the best available information);
  • Permanence (establishing long-term protection);
  • Maximum connectivity (maximizing linkages);
  • Resilience (absorbing shocks); and
  • Size and shape (creating effective protected area units).

Agardy asserted that MPA networks that embody these criteria and the other key elements of MPA network design described in the IUCN/WCPA guidance can overcome the aforementioned disconnect between scales, because they represent a hierarchy of priority setting. Thus large scale conservation is possible while at the same time local needs and conditions can dictate the form of management and governance in each individual MPA. This makes MPA networks a potentially important, powerful tool.

In conclusion, Agardy addressed the question of whether MPA networks are feasible. She cited increased awareness of the deterioration of the oceans and the impact of that deterioration on human well-being; gains in scientific understanding of ecological linkages at all scales; a growing number of demonstration models of MPA networks; and an increasing acceptance of ocean zoning. MPA networks are a logical starting point for ocean zoning, since they can point to the core areas that need greatest protection. The present need, Agardy suggested, is for guidance on the process of network design, particularly with regard to hierarchical scales and ecological linkages.

3.2 Presentation Based the CBD Guidance

Azores 2007: Update on the Development of the CBD's MPA Criteria

Presenters: Jake Rice, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Jeff Ardron, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation

Rice and Ardron began by recapping the history of the CBD's involvement in MPA networks. The CBDsignatories adopted the Jakarta Mandate on Marine and Coastal Biological diversity in 1995 and set out a multi-year Program of Work (POW) in 1998. Operational Objective 3.2b of this POW was "to assist in developing criteria for selection of marine and coastal protected areas."

The CBD Commitment to MPA Networks

The establishment and maintenance - by 2010 for terrestrial areas and by 2012 for marine areas - of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of protected areas.

Decision VII/28, Protected areas (articles 8a to e)

Integrated networks of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas (MCPAs) consisting of: (a) MCPAs where threats are managed for the purpose of biodiversity conservation and/or sustainable use and where extractive uses may be allowed; and (b) representative MCPAs where extractive uses are excluded and other significant human pressures are removed or minimized to enable the integrity, structure, and functioning of ecosystems to be maintained or recovered.

Decision VII/5, Marine and coastal biological diversity (Paragraph 21)

A series of meetings and workshops, beginning in 2004, is now nearing its conclusion following the drafting of a report by a group of experts at a meeting in the Azores in late 2007. Canada has played a leadership role in this process, including hosting a workshop in Ottawa in 2005 to provide advice on criteria for identifying and prioritizing ecologically or biologically significant areas beyond national jurisdiction. In Mexico City in January 2007, a group met to formulate guidance on the use of biogeographical classification systems. The final expert workshop, held in the Azores in October 2007, was tasked with refining and consolidating these two elements and compiling a set of scientific criteria for representative networks of MPAs, including in open ocean waters and deep-sea habitats.

The final report of the Azores expert workshop defines the objective of an MPA network as follows:

"To maintain, protect and conserve global marine biodiversity through conservation and protection of its components in a biogeographically representative network of ecologically coherent sites. Using the best available scientific information, the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach will be applied to help halt the losses in biodiversity."

The site criteria for identification of ecologically and biologically sensitive areas (EBSAs) were finalized as:

  • Uniqueness/rarity;
  • Special importance for life history of species;
  • Importance for threatened, endangered, or declining species/habitats;
  • Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery;
  • Biological productivity;
  • Biological diversity; and
  • Naturalness.

The overarching network criteria deemed critical to achieving "ecological coherence" (a term adapted from the OSPAR/Helsinki Commission network initiative) were finalized as:

  • EBSAs;
  • Representativity;
  • Connectivity;
  • Replication; and
  • Adequacy/viability.

The guidance on global biogeographical classification, as developed in Mexico City, will go forward as a supplement to the Azores report. It advocates a taxonomic approach with a physiognomic approach as a validation step, that is, the use of biological information as far as possible, identifying groups of species with common distributions, supplemented by comparing biogeographical patterns to physical oceanographic features.

Finally, the Azores report suggests four initial steps to be followed in the design of MPA networks:

  1. Scientific identification of an initial set of EBSAs;
  2. Developing/choosing a biogeographical, habitat, and/or community classification system;
  3. Drawing on steps 1 and 2 above, iteratively using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques to identify sites to include in a network; and
  4. Assessing the adequacy and viability of the selected sites.

The report of the Azores expert workshop will go forward for acceptance by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and, in turn, the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bonn, Germany, in May 2009. The presenters expressed their hope that Canada would continue to support this guidance as it moves through the final stages, and also consider the utility of the report in facilitating MPA network planning within Canadian waters.Footnote 12

The report of the Azores expert workshop can be found at: http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/mar/ewsebm-01/official/ewsebm-01-02-en.doc.

3.3 Summary of Panel Discussions on Ecological Criteria (from the IUCN/WCPAchecklist)

Following the plenary presentations on best practices guidance during the first day of the MPA networks workshop, participants met in three small groups to discuss the application of the ecological criteria to the challenge of establishing MPA networks in the Canadian context. The results of these three discussion groups are summarized below.

Discussion Group on Coherence and Adequacy

Most examples of practical applications of these two criteria - coherence and adequacy - were specific to individual MPAs rather than networks of MPAs. The working group tried to focus on specific characteristics that distinguished applications to MPA networks as opposed to individual MPAs. The lack of a process for fitting individual MPAs together into a network was pointed out as a current shortcoming. Instead, we rely on checklists of characteristics.

Much of the discussion focused on relating criteria to specific ecological objectives. How can individual parts contribute to protection of the whole while also meeting ecological objectives such as protecting particular endangered species? Networks can provide connectivity among special areas that are important to species life histories, such as nesting areas, feeding grounds, and other key habitats that can be enhanced further by protecting migration routes. But how do we determine what is important to protect through a network? How do we determine what is required to address threats to the whole life history of marine species?

The question was raised about how much weight should be placed on coherence compared with other criteria. Several participants pointed out the problems of achieving coherence. Pushing for the whole at the beginning of the design process might jeopardize the entire process. Coherence is difficult to implement and achieve.

Participants were urged to differentiate the ideal outcome from the reality they work with and its associated limitations. While aiming for the ideal network, we need to prioritize first steps to achieve the desired outcome, as everything cannot be done at once.

Another question was raised about whether enough scientific information exists to design MPA networks in the Canadian context. Some participants suggested that the process could be accelerated by reducing the burden of data and justification required before designation, in accordance with the precautionary principle. For several places in Canada, the appropriate information is lacking, but we have to proceed with the information available at decision-making time. For any network, more information will permit better and more targeted planning and management measures

A network of MPAs was declared last year in Australia's South-east Marine Region, based on areas of suspected high value. The best available marine scientific information was used, but in reality very little was known. A precautionary approach was applied, and it may be decades before scientific information catches up with designations. There was a short-term cost to government in the form of structural adjustments (compensation to fishers), but long-term benefits are expected to outweigh short-term costs.

Some shortcuts for planning MPA networks were suggested. For example, planners may be able to move the identification process forward on the basis of regional information scientists and users know (e.g., the best known fishing grounds), including the level of certainty that can be attached to such information. Traditional knowledge and local knowledge are extremely important in the design process even when scientific information is available.

Most participants did not think that all ecological criteria have to be met to have an effective network. Coherence and connectivity should be part of the design framework but should be omitted from any "business plan" for network implementation, because coherence and connectivity will inevitably be low-scoring criteria.

MPAs were described as a doorway that, once entered, thrusts planners into ecosystem-based management. Networks can be coherent only within larger marine planning. That is, MPAs and networks cannot achieve their goals and objectives if treated as islands, because the marine environment is very interconnected and boundaries are easily crossed with the currents, which transport species and properties. We can designate MPAs haphazardly and later try to fill any gaps, or we can design networks strategically from the very beginning.

Some of the discussion focused on metrics: How can we measure coherence? Can indicator or umbrella species be used? Do we have enough ecological knowledge to identify true indicator species? In Australia, indicator species have been used to evaluate the effectiveness of MPAs, but most participants thought we had a long way to go in actually measuring the coherence of networks, even if this criterion could be better defined.

The discussion on adequacy began with questions about whether the term was being used to refer to the adequacy of individual MPA sites or of the entire network. Several participants suggested that adequacy applied to single sites; network adequacy should be evaluated as coherence.

Adequacy at the site level includes issues of size and shape. However, adequacy is also related to coherence and connectivity. These criteria are difficult to separate. Coherence should be seen as the overarching "umbrella." At the network level, adequacy relates to achieving the ecological objectives of the network.

That said, the adequacy of a network is difficult to measure in reality. The network should be up and running before attempts are made to measure its adequacy. We should be realistic about when benefits will be realized, and not raise expectations in the short term. In addition, as a general rule, a small number of large MPAs is better than a large number of small ones.

The point was raised that adequacy of management is another dimension. On an ecological level, adequacy concerns whether the network captures conservation values. On a management level, straight lines, simple features, simple shapes, and simple boundaries are important in MPA design, compliance, and enforcement.

Discussion Group on Selection: Representativeness, Replication, and Ecological Significance

Most of the group discussion focused on issues related to representativeness (or representativity) and replication. Representativity is captured in a network when it consists of areas representing the different biogeographical subdivisions that reasonably reflect the full range of ecosystems, including the biotic and habitat diversity of the marine region. Representativity depends on scale and on large-scale oceanographic processes that lend particular characteristics to a region.

In Canada, agencies working with different frameworks use separate legislation in establishing MPAs. The challenge is to bring all these efforts together and make planning of MPAs collaborative, transparent, and comprehensive.

Australia has a federal framework with 41 marine bioregions. The Australian provinces eachl have their own meso-scale regions and provincial planning frameworks.

Replication of ecological features means that more than one site will contain examples of a particular feature in the given biogeographical area. The term "features" means species, habitats, and ecological processes that naturally occur in the given biogeographical area. Replication refers to protecting two or more sites that have similar characteristics but that are spatially separate and isolated from each another. The objective is to not put the same sites at risk at the same time (i.e., the replicate sites should not be simultaneously at risk from the same pressure or stressor).

The working group expressed some confusion about the need for replication of all features. The group concluded that replication is probably necessary only for representative MPAs. For example, Australia has replication of MPAs within its regions. In the Canadian context, it would be desirable to protect two examples of features such as hydrothermal vents or submarine canyons.

New Zealand uses information on representative features where available, but also uses expert opinion and local knowledge to determine ecologically important areas.

Australia uses scientific information to prepare regional profiles and workshops to characterize the marine region on the basis of available information. Workshops are also used to identify conservation values (e.g., threatened species, key ecological features, areas of high productivity). Australia uses an interdepartmental process at the federal level to gather best available information.

Canada has identified EBSAs within the five priority large ocean management areas (LOMAs). Additional workshops are planned to fine-tune this process. For generic integrated management approaches for specified management units, a four-step process is envisaged. Step 1 would be an integrated ecological assessment to apply EBSA criteria and identify critical areas. Step 2 would be a species assessment to determine the role that individual species play in the ecosystem. Step 3 would identify degraded areas, and Step 4, depleted species. The four lists these steps would generate would be the starting point for identifying MPAs.

How can different Canadian approaches to identifying bioregions be better integrated? While most of the panelists did not see this issue as important, a strong minority suggested that sharing a common approach is critical. Having all governmental agencies agree on bioregional units as a starting point would facilitate consultation with industry and other interested parties.

The group also concluded that the IUCN/WCPA checklist was not easily interpreted and needs clarification.

Discussion Group on Sound Planning: Sound Ecological Objectives, Information Management, and Precautionary Design

How much information is enough for moving forward? In many places, authorities have neither the time nor resources needed for large efforts to gather information. The discussion focused on using the best information available to put MPA sites and networks into place. The need for additional information may be clearer after initial implementation and better information can be added at a later time. This principle is consistent with the adaptive management approach.

Several participants stated that socio-economic information is particularly problematic; legislative or legal constraints often limit its collection. In comparison to socio-economic data, ecological data are relatively easy to collect and interpret. Ecological data are objective; socio-economic data and their translation into socio-economic objectives are matters of social choice. Socio-economic objectives are much more difficult to specify than ecological ones and are heavily dependent on process.

Who sets the standard for what information is enough? The amount of information needed often depends on the sense of urgency to establish MPA networks. California uses the "best readily available information" and does not have to develop new science in order to act. The state employs an adaptive management approach, including review time frames (every three years). California's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) initiative has a dedicated scientific advisory team that informs the MPA design process. In California, the bar for best science for MPAs is much higher than that for fishery management. Canadian legislation generally directs the country to take action, so waiting for better science may not be possible.

Scale was highlighted as being a key determinant of the information needed to set sound ecological objectives. Setting clear and measurable objectives is easier in small-scale areas, such as bays and estuaries, than in large marine areas.

Combining science-based information and consultation with local users to gain traditional knowledge was emphasized as a good way to start. Presentations to communities should be made by local residents if possible. The collection of local traditional knowledge in the western Arctic and California were pointed out as examples of good practice.

Everyone agreed on the need for clearly defined objectives, especially in Canada. Ecological objectives cannot be determined retrospectively. On the West Coast of Canada, provincial and federal agencies have agreed on high-level objectives as a starting point.

California's MLPA sets out broad goals and then fleshes out specific, scientifically measurable objectives, an approach that in the end leads to the creation of a more defensible system of MPAs than those systems without clear objectives. For example, setting aside 20 percent of marine areas as no-take reserves has been an agreed upon goal in recent years.

Politicians like concrete results. Historically, MPAs have been developed on an ad hoc basis and establishing an MPA has been enough, but now the situation is changing. Politicians today are asking about the outcome and effectiveness of the MPA in meeting its conservation objectives. The ability to show concrete results is a reason for having clearly defined objectives.

Clearly defined, measurable objectives are not reached in the short term. In many ecosystems, achieving anticipated ecological benefits will take a long time.

Finally, an MPA network should be one of the outcomes of integrated management. Several participants pointed out, however, that given the pace at which integrated management is being implemented in Canada, having integrated management in place should not be a prerequisite for the creation of an MPA network.

The group discussion ended on the topic of precautionary design, of which integrated management is one element. Scientifically, precaution can be built in to design by increasing the number of MPAs. Replication is a key consideration.

3.4 Summary of the Panel Discussion Following Small Group Discussions

A summary panel discussion followed the three small-group discussions. The first summary focused on the adequacy, size and shape, resilience, and coherence of MPA networks, as well as individual MPA sites. "Adequacy" is a difficult design criterion, easier to measure at the individual site level than at the network level. Network adequacy cannot be measured until the network is up and running. In the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), definitions of adequacy and comprehensiveness evolved over time. The Representative Areas Program was the first to zone the whole park, including non-coral habitats, as a unit. The GBRMP is rich in data compared with other areas in Australia. Despite this, zoning to protect representative areas across the whole park took lots of time and hard work. At the beginning of the planning process, we should aim for a good "skeleton," as an optimal network is a long-term goal.

In other bioregions of Australia, adequacy (of MPA boundaries) was opportunistic. Adequacy is difficult to define when implementing MPAs. In New Zealand, the decision was made to focus on representativeness and comprehensiveness, instead of adequacy, as key driving principles. Size and spacing as design criteria were also considered within the bioregions of New Zealand but have proven difficult to implement. It was pointed out that "big is beautiful" when it comes to MPAs. A small number of large MPAs is generally preferable to a large number of small MPAs. Large MPAs can reduce edge effects, the influence of external impacts, and uncertainty in design, and can increase the ease of management.

In the Canadian context, it is important that departments and ministries with different responsibilities forMPAs get together to develop a shared approach to MPA networks. An integrated planning process should be more effective than the random combination of individual planning processes.

The size and shape of MPAs is important. Simple shapes, using existing boundaries where possible, are preferable. Straight-line boundaries promote public understanding, compliance, enforcement, and management. The complexity of the shapes of some of the marine reserves within the GBRMP was questioned, because their boundaries may make enforcement difficult.

The public consultation process must remain flexible and allow for changes in the shape and size of MPAs. Conservation objectives must always be kept in mind, however. The final proposal for marine reserves in the GBRMP was radically different from the original proposal. Nevertheless, the GBRMP was fairly successful in meeting the biophysical operating principles. In California's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, on the other hand, protection of important features could have been 10 percent to 30 percent better than that achieved. Too much negotiation about the shape and size of sites tends to decrease overall efficiency in protecting the optimal ecological network. During negotiations about alternative sizes and shapes, scientists should check the alternative proposals to determine whether they would meet the conservation goals.

The discussion then moved to coherence as a criterion of network design. Many participants were not familiar with this concept, so they were hesitant to talk about ecological coherence and its value. Examining the overall coherence of an MPA network logically leads back to the selection of individual sites. Connectivity is often the first thing that comes to mind when considering coherence, but coherence is not only connectivity. Connectivity should cover the important life history areas for individual species, but in marine ecosystems thousands of species are involved, making connectivity complicated to define, measure, and assess.

The discussion then turned to indicators - indicator species or umbrella species. One way to achieve efficiency and economy of scale would be to look at meta-indicators, such as groups of birds. However, taking such a large-scale approach sometimes makes management difficult, for either a single large MPAor an MPA network.

The question was raised whether DFO can designate MPAs first and then develop management plans later, as has been done in Germany. The consensus was that this would not be possible. The identification of EBSAs, however, was considered to be a good first step in facilitating MPA planning and designation.

The importance of gathering local knowledge to fill gaps in scientific information was mentioned. The Dogger Bank in the North Sea was cited as an example. The United Kingdom is still trying to determine whether it really is a bank, even though fishers have been calling it a bank for three hundred years!

The benefits of ecological coherence may take a long time to emerge - the times scale may be decades or at least several generations for some species. Coherence benefits will grow as the network grows. When dealing with decision makers and the public, we must be realistic about the long time frame.

The lack of a fully developed planning process should not be an excuse for no action. We should take some action and remain flexible. Inevitably, our course will change as the process evolves.

A question was raised about targets for MPA networks. For example, New Zealand has defined a 10 percent target in its biodiversity strategy. This target provides a basis for determining progress; the target is now being reviewed and may be redefined. Australia does not have a numerical target for determining the adequacy of its MPA network, despite the fact that conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) persistently ask what the conservation targets are. Setting targets that are too small might result in missed opportunities for the designation of large MPAs. For example, in Australia bioregional planners were considering the designation of about 50 percent of the Coral Sea as an MPA. Even though eventual designation of such a large area was unlikely, having a designation target of only 10 percent or 20 percent of the area would have been a constraint.

The advice of the scientific advisors in California was to have a minimum target of 30 percent and a precautionary target of 50 percent. Stakeholder discussions, however, tended to focus on percentages and not on where the MPAs should or should not be. Current scientific advice has focused on minimum size (range), shoreline length, and minimum and maximum spacing between MPAs. In Europe, the approach varies from country of country. Natura 2000 suggested protection of 20 percent to 60 percent of important habitats.

With respect to representativeness, replication, and ecological significance, the key issue was at what scale should they be determined and applied - the ecoregion scale or a small scale? Unique features and hot spots can be used to determine the ecological significance of an area. New Zealand seeks one example of each feature in a marine reserve; it also seeks representativeness within each of its bioregions. The suggestion was made that Parks Canada Agency focus on representativeness and other agencies focus on unique features, according to their mandates.

Replication of habitats or features within reserves is critical to insuring against catastrophic events or the negative results of making bad decisions. Spatial separation is also critical: replicates should not occur within the same feature, for example, a current or an upwelling area. Replication is particularly important and applicable to representative features; it does not necessarily apply to unique features that are specifically selected for their uniqueness.

When determining ecological significance (e.g., identifying uniqueness and hot spots), we should use a combination of scientific information and expert knowledge, including local knowledge. The question was raised whether EBSAs can be used as a first step in identifying uniqueness and hot spots, but dealing only with areas that meet EBSA criteria would leave representativity unaddressed.

With respect to regions and replication, it is important first to understand the scale at which replication should occur. If there are 29 regions, should replication occur within regions or among them? Are the regions biologically different? Are habitats the same? In defining habitats for replication, we must look beyond physical habitats and include oceanography, temperature, and other features. Replicating different features will require different levels of replication, based on the variability of each feature. A feature that is a "catchall category" will require more replicates, especially if it is a large one. More specific features will require fewer replicates.

Canada's three federal authorities mandated to establish MPAs have different marine regional frameworks with varying purposes. How can we plan within a context of different regional frameworks? How can they be aligned? For simple reasons of governance, these frameworks might remain unchanged, but these authorities would do well to take one another's frameworks into consideration. Participants also pointed out that even given the differences in the frameworks they share some common ground. It was noted, however, that the PCA framework, unlike those of EC and DFO, includes the Great Lakes as well as Canada's oceans, and requires that Parks Canada Agency MPAs touch a coast to be available for public use and enjoyment.

Issues related to scientific information, integrated management, clear objectives, and precautionary design were addressed at the workshop, particularly with respect to their application in Canada. Good science will always be necessary. How should we present science to lay people, to constituents, to stakeholders? How can we obtain local and traditional knowledge? An explicit adaptive management process can gather information and form the basis for using new knowledge. We should move forward in areas for which we have extensive data, but lack of information is not a reason to do nothing or stop our efforts.

In Canada, many agencies have authority to designate MPAs. The discussion emphasized the importance of having an integrated management framework that takes into account national, provincial, and local interests. The New Brunswick Committee on Integrated Management looks at actions that could protect resources beyond MPAs. Moving a shipping lane, for example, could achieve multiple goals.

It is difficult for one agency to cover all threats to MPAs or MPA networks. Integrated management can deal with different threats, including protection from land-based threats.

Having clear objectives can facilitate political will to establish MPA networks. Politicians like clear objectives, not statements of lofty goals. Designating MPAs for which objectives are poorly defined may constrain the establishment of new MPAs. In establishing MPA networks, we must ensure that they have clearly defined and achievable objectives.

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