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

Undertake an engagement campaign aimed at the global community to raise awareness and support for the Ascension MPA and by extension the island.

More detail is provided in the Public Engagement Strategy

Outcomes

The unique biodiversity of Ascension and the work being done to protect it reaches a global audience generating public support. Potential funders and collaborators can see the work being done in the Ascension MPA and the potential for further innovative management and research.

Targets

Year 1: Public Engagement Strategy initiated including at least 50 social media posts produced and two videos created.

Year 5: Public Encouragement Strategy fully implemented including at least 150 social media posts and six videos created.

Threats addressed

Low public support for the MPA and marine conservation

Strategic objectives delivered

3 To promote scientific research and share knowledge about Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity in order to encourage support for marine conservation locally and internationally

Operational objectives delivered

3a. The Ascension Island MPA becomes a world-renowned site for the scientific study of marine ecosystems

3b. Ascension becomes an active and influential member of international networks of MPA managers, and initiates and participates in collaborative projects

3d. The Ascension MPA and the conservation and scientific work being undertaken reaches a global audience leading to increased political and financial support

Priority

High

Description

Undertake a public engagement campaign that aims to increase levels of knowledge and interest in the MPA amongst the Ascension population.

More detail is provided in the Public Engagement Strategy

Outcomes

A greater level of awareness of the MPA and marine conservation amongst the island community leads to higher levels of compliance and generates new ideas for better management.

Local stakeholders feel involved in the MPA process and young people on Ascension feel empowered to contribute to global marine conservation efforts.

Targets

Year 1: All priority actions in the Public Engagement Strategy initiated including a marine festival, visitor centre, school trips, press articles and social media posts.

Year 5: Public Engagement Strategy fully implemented. At least 200 members of the Ascension community participate in events linked to the MPA.

Threats addressed

Low public support for the MPA and marine conservation

Strategic objectives delivered

3. To promote scientific research and share knowledge about Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity in order to encourage support for marine conservation locally and internationally

Operational objectives delivered

3c. Every person on Ascension is aware of the MPA and its purpose

Priority

High

Description

Develop a ‘promotional package’ for visiting scientists to promote Ascension as a research hotspot. Develop facilities for visiting researchers including field equipment, lab upgrade and accommodation. Provide a data collection service for institutions that have research projects that are consistent with the MPA objectives.

Outcomes

Increased number and diversity of collaborations with research institutions that generate income for the island, improve knowledge of Ascension’s marine environment and raise the island’s international profile. Ascension becomes directly involved in innovative research projects and acquires a reputation for being a research ‘hot-spot.’

Targets

Year 1: Promotional package completed and distributed to all UK and relevant international academic institutions. Identify gaps in provision for visiting researchers

Year 5: Facilities developed to meet the main needs of researchers. Legal and insurance procedures to lease facilities and equipment to visiting organisations established. Data collection service in place and being used by external partners.

Strategic objectives delivered

3. To promote scientific research and share knowledge about Ascension Island’s marine biodiversity in order to encourage support for marine conservation locally and internationally

Operational objectives delivered

3a. The Ascension Island MPA becomes a world-renowned site for the scientific study of marine ecosystems

Priority

Medium