How will we manage the MPA?

achievING our objectives

Common octopus - Jude Brown
Common octopus - Jude Brown

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This section describes the actions we will take to achieve the MPA’s objectives

Boatswainbird Island - Nicola Weber
Boatswainbird Island - Nicola Weber

This involves not only preventing or restricting damaging activities that threaten the MPA but also restoring, improving, researching and sharing Ascension’s amazing marine environment.

The MPA is going to be around forever and it will be a long journey to achieve everything we want. In the first five years covered by this plan, we have focused on the actions that will achieve the greatest positive change to the MPA within our resources (more detail of how we determined this is given in the MPA Showing our Workings document). This means there are no actions linked to substantial threats such as ocean acidification and rising sea temperatures because we simply don’t have the management tools to address them. It also means ambitious aspirations to develop Ascension as a global science hub will have to be achieved in stages and the futuristic submarine laboratory complex will have to wait until the next phase.

Green turtle on Pan Am Beach - Matt Wall

The designation of the MPA was underpinned by sound science and this evidence-based approach is carried forward into the management of the site. Where possible we have designed management actions based on existing data and experience of what will be effective. However, we know we don’t have all the answers from the start so targets, monitoring and refinement of our management will be essential. How we will do this is described in the Monitoring and Evaluation section.

The actions are arranged so that they can be filtered to show those that contribute to achieving different strategic or operational objectives, the ones that counter specific threats to the MPA and those actions that help protect particular species and habitats. Alternatively, you can choose to see them all and realise how busy we will be for the next five years.

Action table

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Operational objective

Description

Regulations and best practice guidance put in place governing the conduct of sports fishing and ecotourism businesses. Business licence renewal linked to compliance. Regulations and guidelines on avoidance of disturbance to wildlife provided with employment contracts and entry permits and publicised through videos, briefings, leaflets and signs at key locations.

Outcomes

Sportsfishing and tourist activities are conducted sustainably without damaging stocks or disturbing non-target species. Only businesses that adhere to regulations are licensed to operate. Widespread awareness of, and compliance with, regulations and guidance.

Targets

Year 1: Inshore Fisheries legislation covering sports fishing operations drafted and enacted. Review of Business Permit process. Videos, briefing presentations and designs for leaflets and signs produced

Year 5: Best practice guidance documents for sports fishing and ecotourism produced via stakeholder consultation. Signs present at all main tourist areas. Leaflets available at key sites for visitors Video shown at arrivals hall and cinema. Leaflet included with all contract packs.

Threats addressed

Poorly-managed sports fishery

Disturbance from tourism

Strategic objectives delivered

2. To promote the sustainable development of social and economic activities in the MPA that are compatible with protection of the marine environment

Operational objectives delivered

2d. Ascension is recognised as one of the world’s best destinations to enjoy responsible sports fishing and ecotourism activities that have no negative impact on the behaviour or health of protected species

Habitats and species protected

Sandy beaches, coastal plateaus, rocky reefs, sandy substrate, rhodolith beds, intertidal pools, anchialine pools, yellowfin tuna, Atlantic blue marlin, wahoo, green turtle, land crab, Ascension frigatebird, masked booby, sooty tern, Galapagos shark

Priority

High

Description

Depending on outcome of ‘Future of Ascension’ discussions, develop tourism growth strategy. Employ a tourism development officer to lead an online marketing campaign and provide on-island business development support.

Outcomes

Coordinated approach to creating and marketing a tourist offer that maximises the potential of Ascension’s marine environment to attract tourists. People living on Ascension are supported to develop businesses that retain revenue from marine resources on-island.

Targets

Year 1: Establish scope of Tourism Development Strategy in consultation with Ascension Island Council.

Year 5: If appropriate, Tourism Growth strategy produced and implemented. Tourist development officer employed by AIG. Marketing strategy results in at least 300 tourists per year visiting Ascension. Support at least three island-based businesses to develop sports fishing and ecotourism products

Threats addressed

Low public support for the MPA and marine conservation

Strategic objective delivered
  1. To promote the sustainable development of social and economic activities in the MPA that are compatible with protection of the marine environment
Operational objectives delivered

2d. Ascension is recognised as one of the world’s best destinations to enjoy responsible sports fishing and ecotourism activities that have no negative impact on the behaviour or health of protected species

2e. A significant proportion of revenue from sports fishing, ecotourism and other economic activities in the MPA is retained on the island

Priority

Medium