Establishing and developing a Marine Protected Area involves many steps. From the initial design and consultation stage (involving an understanding of the biophysical, social and governance related elements at a site) through to operational systems design (involving management planning, staffing and infrastructure establishment) through to implementing activities to achieve management objectives. These are all critical steps in the process.
Through all these stages however, reflection and assessment is required to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems being designed, the mechanisms and processes being established, and whether the approaches being undertaken are effectively achieving what they set out to achieve. Through such assessments MPA managers and practitioners can assess progress at all stages of development and implementation, and can adaptively manage along the way to achieve optimal results.