Overall management capacity across all operations affecting marine mammal conservation

Management effectiveness

Introduction

Most MPAs report a shortfall in their capacity to manage operations. A 2017 survey of 433 marine protected areas found that 65% reported shortfalls in funding for basic management, while 91% reported inadequate or below optimum staff capacity (capacity/numbers). Further, the study found a relationship between budget and staffing capacity with conservation impact (measured by fish populations) [1]. In other words, generally-speaking, management capacity in the form of budgets and staffing is important to the goals of an MPA, and there is no reason to think that this relationship would not also apply to marine mammal conservation in the MPA.

This section focuses on the capacity of the MPA to manage the operations that directly or indirectly affect marine mammal conservation, as outlined in previous factsheets. In many cases, collaborating organisations or other government agencies fulfilling some of the management operations (such as monitoring or enforcement) [2].

Sharks © Kimberly Jeffries
Sharks © Kimberly Jeffries

Overall budget

The overall budget for activities affecting marine mammal conservation would include budget allocations that are or would be spent on most of the areas covered in earlier factsheets. The overall budget should be all encompassing and account for all the actionable and foreseeable activities.

Human resources

This is related to the number of available staff, and the staff skill set for the various activities related to marine mammal management. The budget should give due consideration to the amount of time required by each staff and account for any additional costs in relation to staffing such as training.

Overheads & Hardware

Administration facilities in the form of office and computing assets are vital to MPA management, as is field equipment where required (although this would depend on how much of the on-water activities are performed by other agencies or partner organisations). Furthermore, overheads must be considered within budgets. There is no standardised measure of determining the percentage cost of overheads against the overall budget so a full financial mapping of the MPA is advised.

Planning for the future

Formal assessments of current capacity and shortfalls in capacity, as well as future requirements, can guide planning with respect to future funding, and help direct management toward critical partnerships and collaboration.

Resources

[1] Gill DA, et al. (2017) Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally. Nature. Doi:10.1038/nature21708
[2] U.S. Department of Commerce. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. 2010. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Final Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. Silver Spring, MD

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