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MPA Self Assessment Tool

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Meta Data

To progress through the SAT, you are required to complete the 'Meta-Data' questions.
You can return at a later stage and adjust your answers if needed.

MPA Attributes

Jurisdiction, Province, State, Country, or other location of MPA
Select the appropriate coordinate system and provide the coordinates. If UTM is being used, select the UTM region 'Number' and appropriate 'Letter'
Name of the MPA as presented in declaration documents
Highlight any national statuses and/or designations associated with the MPA
Select the appropriate regional status. If 'Other' use the adjacent space to type
Select all appropriate international statuses
MPAs are often assigned an IUCN category. If your MPA is assigned multliple categories, select the one with the highest are and others in the 'Other' section.
These options are based upon IUCN's broad protected area governance types with respect to who holds the decision-making and management authority and responsibility about protected areas. Dudley et al. (2008).
Indicate the name of the management authority responsible for managing the MPA

Key Marine Mammal Species within the MPA

Main uses in and around the MPA

Main pressures

Name the management objectives

Management Plan

Completer Attributes

It is important to note the date that the SAT was completed for future use.

MPA Management Framework

1: MPA management with respect to marine mammals

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1.: Do the stated objectives of the MPA include protection and maintenance of marine mammal biodiversity?
1.: Is marine mammal management within the MPA described clearly and in detail within a management plan?
1.: Does the management plan allow for modifications to regulations in response to the following threats to marine mammals?
- marine mammal watching
- noise management
- entanglement in fishing gear and other installations
- marine mammal by-catch (fishing)
- collision / strike
- overfishing
- Environmental Impact Assessment protocols for proposed developments or activities
1.: Are there specific conservation plans for individual marine mammal species?
1.: Does MPA management comply with national legislation protecting marine mammals?
1.: Does MPA management comply with regional and other international marine mammal agreements?

2: Coordination between agencies with respect to marine mammal conservation

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2.: Do formal arrangements allow for cross-departmental coordination and cooperation?
2.: Is data shared across agencies to enhance the effectiveness of collaborative analysis and decision-making?
2.: Where policy conflicts between agencies occur (eg. Port Management, MPA management), do administrative processes ensure the consideration of marine mammal conservation?

3: Zoning and permitting

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3.: Is there a multi-use zoning plan that considers marine mammals?
3.: Does a system of permits for marine activities explicitly consider marine mammals?
3.: Do strict Environmental Impact Assessment protocols ensure the consideration of marine mammals?
3.: Where applicable, are specific monitoring/impact studies enforced for:
- oil and gas exploration / seismic surveys?
- renewal energy production (eg. Offshore wind farms)?
- dredging?
- ports and other constructions?
- prohibited activities?

4: Planned responses and contingency plans for major incidents

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4.: Are appropriate, detailed responses to the following incident types ready for immediate activation?
- Oil spills
- Ship groundings
- Sunken vessel
- Invasive species outbreaks

Addressing Activities & Threats

5: Whale, dolphin and sirenia watching

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5.: Is marine mammal watching regulated by national or state government laws or regulations?
5.: Are there specific guidelines for marine mammal watching (rules of approach, types of vessels, noise etc.) within the MPA?
5.: Are types of vessels and spotting aircraft (and drones) regulated within the MPA?
5.: Are approach-distances, altitudes etc. of aircraft and drones regulated within the MPA?
5.: Do guidelines forbid touching, feeding, use of scuba, and loud noise?
5.: Are observers on marine mammal watching vessels required at all times?
5.: Are trained and empowered naturalist guides required on every trip?
5.: Are licence numbers restricted based on marine mammal conservation needs?
5.: Is there periodic assessment of compliance of the marine mammal industry with management goals and legislation?
5.: Is there enforcement of maximum visitation rules through Automatic Identification System (vessel tracking)?
5.: Do marine mammal watching operators within the MPA collectively (through an association) promote sustainable actions?
5.: Are marine mammal watching operators required to obtain training and certification?

6: Noise management

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6.: Are strict underwater noise limits (based on scientific research) invoked within the permit process?
6.: Are seismic surveys (for research and economic activities) prohibited during important times for marine mammals?
6.: Is there clear legislative responsibility for minimising the impacts of underwater noise?
6.: Are important marine mammal areas subject to tighter controls on underwater noise?
6.: Are there season-specific noise restrictions or prohibition in place?
6.: Are specific minimum mitigation requirements to be met in the case of certain developments outlined in legislation or regulation?
6.: Are specified techniques (ie. 'soft start') prescribed to mitigate the effects of construction/development activities?
6.: Are noise limits in place for specific types of construction, where necessary? eg. Pile-driving for offshore wind farms
6.: Are allowable limits of ambient noise for fixed, mobile and vibration sources in place?
6.: Are marine mammal observers or acoustic monitors required during construction or when seismic surveys are undertaken?
6.: Is the use of sonar (eg. during military exercises) regulated in certain seasons?
6.: Does the MPA have a strategy to reduce the impact of commercial vessel noise on marine mammals (i.e. shipping lanes, slow speed zones, noise reduction)?
6.: Is passive monitoring of cetaceans and underwater noise undertaken within the MPA?

7: Entanglement in fishing gear and other installations

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7.: Are non-fishing activities with the potential to cause marine mammal entanglement (offshore energy, aquaculture etc) prohibited in key marine mammal areas within the MPA?
7.: Are fishers and other marine users subject to communication and awareness programmes regarding interactions with marine mammals?
7.: Is immediate reporting of marine mammal entanglements compulsory for fishers or other marine operators?
7.: Are marine mammal entanglement numbers, locations, species and gear types recorded in a central database?
7.: Are formal, best-practice strategies in place for responses to entanglements?
7.: Is 'ropeless trap' technology used and/or encouraged?

8: Marine Mammal By-catch (fishing)

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8.: Is fishing banned or restricted (effort) in key marine mammal zones areas within the MPA?
8.: Is net fishing banned within the MPA?
8.: Is net fishing regulated within key zones in the MPA?
8.: Are seasonal fishing restrictions in place to avoid the risk of cetacean by-catch?
8.: Are drift-nets banned or restricted within the MPA?
8.: Is gillnet use restricted or prohibited in certain areas and/or at certain times?
8.: Are pingers or acoustic alarms required in the net or trawl fisheries?
8.: Are other technological strategies required (by regulation or legislation) in order to reduce marine mammal by-catch?
- Light trawls replacing gillnets
- stiffened and acoustically reflective gillnets
- exclusion grids on trawls
- excluding devices on stownets
- longline modifications
- gear modifications to pot and trap fisheries to reduce marine mammal entanglement
Are artisanal fishing practices the only, if any, permitted fishery activity within the MPA? if ‘Yes’, select "Not Applicable" for the following questions.
8.: Are by-catch records (including species, locations and gear-types) recorded in a central database?
8.: Is research into cetacean by-catch risk and mitigation being conducted?
8.: Are stakeholder (fishing industry) outreach programs encouraging behavioural and technological mitigation strategies?
8.: Are training programmes (to release entangled animals where possible) available to commercial fishermen?
8.: Are observer monitoring programs required on commercial fishing vessels?

9: Marine mammal collision / strike

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9.: Have areas of high vessel traffic been identified and mapped?
9.: Within areas of high vessel use, have the distributions and abundances of marine mammals been quantified in space and time?
9.: Have risk assessments been undertaken for species based on known distribution, critical habitat, vulnerability to vessel strike and vessel traffic?
9.: Is reporting of known vessel strikes facilitated (eg. through online reporting)?
9.: Are vessel strike records collected and centrally held for analysis?
9.: Are vessel strikes reported to the International Whaling Commission ( for their database?
9.: Where necropsies on stranded marine mammals suggest boat strike as a cause of death, is hindcasting used to estimate the location of the collision?
9.: Are large vessels (20 m length) restricted to below 10 knots within the MPA?
9.: Are speed limits below 10 knots in force within marine mammal critical habitat areas?
9.: Are seasonal or permanent bans on vessels entering particularly sensitive areas for marine mammals in place?
9.: Are vessels routed in a manner (ie. Traffic Separation Scheme) designed to minimise the risk of collision with marine mammals?

10: Marine mammal strandings (by MPA management or stranding network etc.)

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Does the MPA include coastal zone (s) (beaches, etc.)? If no, please select 'Not Applicable' for the following questions
10.: Is there a system which gives the public the ability to report strandings in an efficient and rapid manner?
10.: Is there the capacity for an emergency response to attend to live strandings, transport live animals, apply medical treatment, and if possible refloat the animal?
10.: Is there capacity to perform necroscopies (and take samples) by trained personnel from dead strandings in order to analyse mortality?
10.: Is there capacity to identify population-wide health problems (ie. toxic waste), with possible remediation actions?
10.: Is data held in a central database that allows locations, causes of injury, illness or death, and species to be aggregated and therefore analysed?
10.: Is there clear and accessible public communication and education regarding the reporting of strandings?
10.: Is there clear and accessible public communication regarding stranding data in order to increase public awareness of cetaceans and the threats they face?

Research and monitoring

11: Baseline Knowledge - Ecology of Marine Mammal, their Habitats and their threats

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11.: Are maps of marine mammal habitats and other relevant natural resources available?
11.: Knowledge of the ecological status of marine mammals within the MPA?
11.: Have detailed analyses of specific local threats to marine mammals, along with their causes, been conducted?

12: Marine mammal ecological Monitoring - protocols and techniques

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12.: Are standardised, best-practice monitoring protocols in place?
12.: Which of the following monitoring techniques are used?
- photo ID
- transect counts
- passive accoustic monitoring
- biopsies for genetic analyses
- GPS tracking
- radio-tracking
- accoustic tracking
- aeral surveys from manned or unmanned aircraft
- citizen science
- data collection from tourism operators
- stranding and by-catch data
12.: Does the MPA management or its collaborators have the technical capacity to fully analyse collected monitoring data?
12.: Is existing marine research and monitoring data maintained in the long term?

13: Measured Ecological Variables (by MPA management or partner organisations)

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13.: Which of the following ecological variables concerning marine mammals are monitored?
- diversity
- seasonal movements
- species distributions
- habitat useage
- population groupings
- abundance of each species
- connectivity between populations
- behaviour
- migration characteristics
13.: Are the following general ecological health indicators of the ecosystems within the MPA monitored?
- fish stocks
- abundance of macroalgal species
- reef health
- seagrass abundance
- plankton abundance
13.: Physical parameters over time and space
- sea temperatures
- ocean acidity (pH)
- salinity
- other relevant physical or chemical variables (i.e. current speed)

14: Frequency of Marine Mammal Monitoring (by MPA management or partner organisations)

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14.: For migratory species:
14.: For resident species:
14.: Physical parameters:

15: Data sharing concerning marine mammals

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15.: Is monitoring and reporting data (raw data and metadata) readily shared between agencies and with researchers?
15.: Is monitoring data and reporting publicly accessible (online)?

16: Socio-economic monitoring (by the MPA management or partner organisations)

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16.: Has the overall economic value of marine mammals in the MPA been studied?
16.: What of the following socio-ecolomic variables are monitored?
- commercial ship traffic (numbers, routes, sizes, speed, noise, vessel strikes)
- commercial fishing data (numbers of boats, locations, dates, types of fishery, types of devices used, by-catch.)
- commercial catch data (species, number/weight, date)
- whale watching (includes dolphins) data (number of boats, nuber of passengers, duration of season)
- economic value of whale watching (nationally, to region, local communities, flow-on effects).
- recreational fishing and other activities (numbers, number of days, locations)
- marine litter (rubbish types and amounts, ghost nets, other abandoned fishing gear) through space and time
- water quality (nutrient levels, other potential pollutants, salinity) through space and time
- scientific research (number of projects, monetary investment in research, research specific to marine mammals)

17: Marine Mammal Research / scientific permits / agreements

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17.: Have marine mammal research priorities within the MPA been identified?
17.: Are marine mammal research activities and partnerships outlined in publicly-available documents?
17.: Is an effective scientific and social marine mammal research permitting system in place?
17.: Is marine mammal research funding, facilitation and collaboration effective and priorotised and transparent?
17.: Does the MPA have MoUs or partnerships with other organisations related to marine mammal research (other MPAs, universities, research organisations etc)?

Outreach and engagement

18: Involvement of stakeholders and other partners in marine mammal management

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18.: Is there policy and management collaboration between MPA management and the following non-commercial stakeholders (where applicable)?
- Local communities
- Traditional owners
- Artisional fishers
- Recreational fishers
- Non-government conservation organisations
18.: Is there policy and management collaboration between MPA management and the following commercial stakeholders?
- Tourism operators
- Commercial fishers
- Mineral resource developers
- Shipping operators or organisations
- Aquaculture industry
- Renewable energy industry
- Defense
18.: Is the MPA incorporated into marine mammal regional agreements, networks or action plans?

19: Education / Communication / Awareness raising

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19.: Are marine mammal education and awareness programs directed at the following user groups?
- Local communities
- Traditional owners
- Artisional fishers
- Recreational fishers
- Non-government conservation organisations
- Tourism operators
- Commercial fishers
- Mineral resource developers
- Shipping operators or organisations
- Aquaculture industry
- Renewable energy industry
- Defense