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Policy analysis of the MPA-process in temperate continental shelf areas
Rabaut, M.; Degraer, S.; Schrijvers, J.; Derous, S.; Bogaert, D.; Maes, F.; Vincx, M.; Cliquet, A. (2009). Policy analysis of the MPA-process in temperate continental shelf areas. Aquat. Conserv. 19(5): 596-608.
In: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. Wiley: Chichester; New York . ISSN 1052-7613; e-ISSN 1099-0755, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Environments > Aquatic environment > Marine environment
    Marine policy
Author keywords
    MPA-process; policy; systems approach; fisheries; ecology; legalities; soft-bottom marine areas

Authors  Top 

    1.The decision to designate, implement and manage marine protected areas (MPAs) is often made ad hoc without clear guiding procedures. This study evaluates the process of establishment and management of MPAs in temperate soft-bottom marine areas, including identification of objectives, site selection, designation, implementation, ecological effectiveness and socio-economic impacts. 2. For the first time, literature about marine conservation strategies in soft-bottom temperate areas is brought together in one systems approach, which is visualized in a flow chart including three phases: setting policy objectives, making decisions and evaluating the eventual effects of the MPA. Policy objectives are generally easy to identify and in most cases national policy objectives are driven by international and regional legal obligations. The decision making process is the most complex phase, as the acceptance of MPAs has to be balanced against the human activities that take place in the area. 3. The relation between fisheries and MPA-management appears to be most challenging in soft-bottom temperate marine areas because of conflicting interests and institutional differences. Activities limited in space and not relying directly on ecosystem functions (e.g. offshore energy production and aggregate extraction) are generally easier to manage than fisheries. 4. The conceptual mapping exercise presented here serves as a basis for a systems approach for MPAs and has been tested for the Belgian coastal environment. In the Belgian MPA-process, the application of the systems approach proves to be useful in providing insight into the complex interactions of various authorities with scattered jurisdictions. 5. The unified and simplified representation of the various aspects is (1) a useful communication tool for policy makers and managers to inform other sectors and the public at large and (2) a valuable support during the MPA-process that considerably enhances the prospects for success.

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