18 Jul Improving MPA Network Design Across Indonesia

MPA design and establishment were discussed in Ternate, North Maluku, last month, bringing together practitioners from provincial Marine Affairs and Fisheries offices, NGOs and academic institutions. Run through the USAID SEA Project, with support from the Coral Triangle Center, the four-day training session from July 15-18, was aimed at training trainers, with a focus on assisting the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) to develop and design future MPAs and MPA networks through policy strengthening and the development of training modules for marine conservation practitioners.

  Twenty-four participants, coming from diverse backgrounds, brought their advanced skills in designing MPAs and MPA networks using biophysical, social, economic and cultural knowledge. Discussions moved quickly, identifying design criteria and data needs, using MARXAN, among other tools, for the development and evaluation of designs. Participants both gained new skills and shared their own, improving the overall learning outcomes of the group. Ideas for improving training modules and methodology using geographic information systems (GIS) were raised by participants.

Meanwhile, MPA design was also being discussed in Jakarta, where 40 marine and fisheries industry experts gathered from 6-7 August for an Expert Verification Workshop, to review the design proposal for Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 715. The workshop was organized by USAID SEA, The Nature Conservancy and CTC. This workshop was a continuation of support for the design efforts for an MPA network which enhances fisheries by protecting spawning grounds and habitats used by sea turtles, whales and dolphins in FMA 715.

This network design is meant to protect a broad geographic and ecological area, which would not be possible with a single MPA. The workshop participants reviewed the network design using varied criteria to assist the existing MARXAN analysis. They then discussed and evaluated the characteristics of each potential MPA, assessing its relevance to factors such as fisheries management and habitat and vulnerable species protection. They also suggested future areas of interest for study, and provided input on seabird species and habitat, cetacean migration and historical sites of shipwrecks, all of which will provide further context for the MPA network design. A finalized design is expected later this year.

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