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Introduction | Identification | Impacts | Causes | Actions | More Info
|Why are MPAs established?|
MPAs have proven to be effective tools for managing direct human uses of the marine environment. The goals for establishing a MPA can vary from marine conservation to increased fisheries catch to improved recreational opportunities. Many MPAs have multiple goals that create a balancing act between protection and wise use. The impacts caused by fishing, tourism, mining, and other activities can be reduced by the use of MPAs. Mitigation of social conflicts and preserving sociocultural heritage can also be achieved in addition to reducing impacts on the marine environments.
However, MPAs are less effective in addressing indirect impacts to protected areas such as land-based sources of pollution and invasive species. Land-based sources include nutrient and sediment runoff, erosion from areas outside the protected area, industrial pollution, sewage from nearby communities, and human population pressures that influence the magnitude of many of these impacts. Though some MPAs include the adjacent coastline which allows for more control of impacts, this is rarely done at a large enough scale to be effective in controlling land-based impacts to coral reef ecosystems.
MPAs are often a management response to environmental or social crisis, but they can also be employed as a precautionary management approach. If the community, government, and/or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are aware of the value that coral reefs offer, then a MPA can be established in advance of increasing population pressure, technological pressure, and intensifying uses such as fishing pressure or marine tourism development. Sometimes it is easier to advocate zoning of marine areas before a group of users have established a pattern or dependency on the area.
|Meeting of local villagers to discuss coral conservation and management.
Location: Spermonde – Sulawesi, Indonesia
Photo by: J. Oliver
(from ReefBase: http://www.reefbase.org)|