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

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

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

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

Description

Conduct regular volunteer litter clearance events to prevent the accumulation of marine plastics and other debris. This will be done around beaches and on SCUBA in shallow water habitats.

Outcomes

Beaches and coastal areas are kept free of litter. The Ascension community becomes involved in positive action to protect the MPA.

Targets

Year 1: Four beach cleans involving a minimum 80 people undertaken

Year 5: The four most popular beaches are cleaned every six months. Other sites cleaned annually. Two dive cleans undertaken at popular fishing sites each year. In total, a minimum of 120 people involved.

Threats adressed

Marine litter

Low public support for the MPA and marine conservation

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

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

Habitats and species protected

Sandy beaches, coastal plateaus, rocky reefs, sandy substrate, rhodolith beds, intertidal pools, anchialine pools, green turtle, Ascension frigatebird, masked booby, sooty tern

Priority

High