Marine Protected Area (MPA) Research

By the end of 2013, the marine component of the Protected Area Network (PAN) will be designed as an ecologically resilient network based on the best available science in order to promote the desired conservation and fisheries outcomes.

New marine science is providing improved guidelines for MPA Network design that will enhance the long-term resilience and productivity of marine ecosystems by integrating biodiversity and fisheries management with adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

Palau has a successful MPA system, encompassing 13 MPA sites. And while this MPA system is successful, it can be greatly strengthened through application of the latest science guidance in ecological MPA network design. Using this guidance, the Center will work closely with partners to carry out a revised design of the Palau MPA Network to create an ecologically resilient network including improving the linkages between marine and terrestrial protected areas. The results of this effort will be used to guide the designation of additional MPAs in Palau, as well as contribute to MPA knowledge regionally and internationally.

Approaches:

PICRC needs to ensure that key decision makers and stakeholders understand the benefits of and rational for designing an ecologically resilient network of MPAs. This will be accomplished through briefings and one-on-one consultations.

While the Center and its partners are very familiar with the design principles and approaches for designing an ecologically resilient MPA network, the exact process that will be used in Palau has not yet been developed and agreed to. This will be done in the next few months. Once the processes have been agreed upon, the Center will collate its data in an easily accessible format to support the process and take the lead on the steps to complete the design.

The process will be formulated to collect and apply the input of key stakeholder groups both to help improve the design and to help encourage its approval, when it is completed. Once the design is completed, the Center will hold outreach consultations to share the results and encourage adoption of the design. The Center will support the monitoring of the network and encourage updating and adaptive management as new science becomes available.