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

Control invasive non-native species in coastal Nature Reserves to protect sea turtle and seabird nesting habitat and maintain the natural character of these sites. This will be achieved through the mechanical removal and chemical control of invasive plant species and the targeted poisoning of rodents around sensitive sites.

Outcomes

Spread of invasive non-native vegetation, in particular vigorous woody species, is halted or reversed. Rodent populations are reduced to below the level where they pose a significant threat to overall breeding success of seabirds and turtles.

Targets

Year 1: Complete eradication of non-native shrubs in buffer areas around all coastal nature reserves. Establish rodent monitoring protocol

Year 5: Extend buffer zones clear of non-native plant buffers further from coastal nature reserves. Targeted rodent control programme initiated around all coastal nature reserves

Threats addressed

Existing non-native species

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

1c. No loss of species and no reduction of species abundance or ecosystem complexity in inshore areas

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

Habitats and species protected

Sandy beaches, coastal plateaus

green turtle, land crab, Ascension frigatebird, masked booby, sooty tern

Priority

High