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 a monitoring and evaluation regime such that all actions are monitored and outcome evaluation is built into annual workplans.

Outcomes

Adaptive management refines and improves management over time and ensures it is evidence-based and responsive to changing conditions.

Targets

Year 1: Implementation of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Strategy, with monitoring linked to all objectives and management actions initiated.

Year 5: Completed cycles of monitoring, evaluation and management refinement demonstrate effective adaptive approach in place.

Strategic objectives delivered

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

4b. Management actions are designed to deliver the MPA objectives, based on the best available information and subject to regular monitoring and review.

Priority

High

Description

Establish robust data management system to collate information from biological, socio-economic and enforcement monitoring

Outcomes

Databases required to collate and curate essential information are fit-for-purpose, adequately secure and have appropriate backup protocols in place. Procedures in place for dealing with sensitive information such as illegal fisheries compliance intelligence.

Targets

Year 1: Deficiencies in data management capacity and procedures identified.

Year 5: Robust data management processes in place and being followed by all MPA staff and collaborators. Data storage is secure

Strategic objectives delivered

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

4b. Management actions are designed to deliver the MPA objectives, based on the best available information and subject to regular monitoring and review.

Priority

Medium

Description

Implement ICCAT obligations for offshore waters, supply data on recreational catches and introduce minimum landing size for billfish into inshore fisheries legislation

Outcomes

Ascension achieves full compliance with ICCAT obligations across its entire EEZ.

Targets

Year 1: Establish catch reporting system including logbooks and associated information campaign for recreational fishermen

Year 5: Ascension achieving and reporting compliance with all ICCAT obligations. Catch data being supplied by at least 70% of recreational fishermen

Threats addressed

IUU fishing, poorly-managed recreational fishery, poorly-managed sports fishery

Strategic objectives delivered

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

4a. The Legal and operational framework for the MPA (Primary and secondary legislation, regulations, management plan) is fit-for-purpose and enforcement action is effective.

Habitats and species protected

Yellowfin tuna, Atlantic blue marlin, wahoo, green turtle, Galapagos shark

Priority

High

Description

MPA-related regulations and those in other pieces of domestic legislation that are relevant to the MPA are effectively enforced to ensure there is a high level of compliance and support amongst those using the MPA.

Outcomes

Major threats to the objectives of the MPA are successfully controlled through legislation. The Ascension community and people visiting the island are aware of and support the legislation.

Targets

Year 1: Regulations are drafted following consultation and introduced along with a public information campaign. MPA Officers are warranted and trained to carry out enforcement action. Remote surveillance of offshore zone effectively undertaken by Blue Belt Surveillance and Intelligence Hub (BBSIH).

Year 5: Detected infringement of the regulations is at a low level. Appropriate enforcement action is taken in all cases of infringement by either AIGCFD in the inshore zone and BBSIH in the offshore zone. There is a high level of support for enforcement activities amongst the island population.

Threats addressed

IUU fishing, poorly-managed recreational fishery, poorly-managed sports fishery, marine litter, spill incident, disturbance from tourism, development, mineral extraction

Strategic objectives delivered

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

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

1b. Proxy objective: Surveillance, compliance and enforcement regime effectively detects all known threats to offshore ecosystems

4a. The Legal and operational framework for the MPA (Primary and secondary legislation, regulations, management plan) is fit-for-purpose and enforcement action is effective.

Habitats and species protected

Sandy beaches, coastal plateaus, rocky reefs, sandy substrate, rhodolith beds, intertidal pools, anchialine pools, pelagic waters around seamounts, benthic habitats on seamounts, epipelagic ocean, mesopelagic ocean, bathypelagic ocean, hydrothermal vents, lower slopes of Ascension Island and seamounts, flat abyssal plains.

Green turtle, land crab, Ascension frigatebird, masked booby, sooty tern, rock hind grouper, moray eel, glasseye snapper, spiny lobster, endemic inshore fish species, Ascension goby, Galapagos shark, common octopus, shrimps of the anchialine pools, corals, sponges, coralline algae, bryozoan, bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, Atlantic blue marlin, wahoo, silky shark, rainbow runner, bluntnose sixgill shark, Lophelia coral, humpback whale, blue shark.

Priority

High

Description

Build on governance structures established at MPA designation to ensure there is strong leadership, accountability and involvement of the island community and other key stakeholders in decision making.

Outcomes

MPA governance structure and decision-making processes are clear and involve the island community, scientific experts and other stakeholders.

Targets

Year 1: MPA governance arrangements have been agreed by the Ascension Island Council. Scientific Advisory Committee established.

Year 5: Governance structures are established and demonstrated input into annual setting of workplans and 5 year review of Management Plan.

Threats addressed

Low public support for the MPA and marine conservation

Strategic objectives delivered

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

4b. Management actions are designed to deliver the MPA objectives, based on the best available information and subject to regular monitoring and review.

4c. The Ascension Island community is effectively engaged in MPA governance structures and benefits equitably from management decisions.

Priority

High

Description

Assess and preferentially target sources of long-term secured income.

Outcomes

Generate income for managing the MPA and move towards financial independence and self-sufficiency. Long-term security of funding for core management priorities.

Targets

Year 1: Produce sustainable financing strategy

Year 5: Reduce reliance on UK Government funding to less than 33% of total MPA management costs

Strategic objectives delivered

4. To achieve effective governance and management of the MPA that is transparent and underpinned by sustainable financial and human resources

Operational objectives delivered

4d. Human and financial resources are secured to deliver effective management

Priority

High