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

Establish effective development control and/or licensing system incorporating robust Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Outcomes

All development proposals in or adjacent to the MPA are assessed and activities potentially damaging to the MPA are modified or mitigated.

Targets

Year 1: Pilot EIA process with developments undertaken by Ascension Island Government Operations Directorate

Year 5: EIA and development control process and/or legislation in place covering all developments in or adjacent to the MPA

Threats addressed

Development

Strategic objectives delivered
  1. To conserve Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity, habitats and ecological functions for long-term ecosystem health
  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

1g. No reduction in the extent or condition of key habitats

2f. Future developments are assessed and designed to be compatible with the conservation objectives of the MPA

Habitats and species protected

Sandy beaches, rocky reefs, sandy substrates, rhodolith beds, green turtle, land crab, corals, sponges, coralline algae, bryozoans

Priority

High