Supporting the development of marine protected area management plans based on fundamental science

Lead Research Organisation: University of Salford
Department Name: Sch of Environment & Life Sciences

Abstract

The UK has an extensive network of marine protected areas (MPAs) and they form a fundamental part of the UK marine conservation and management strategy. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for the 77 English Marine protected areas. Of these, less than a third currently have a management plan. Management plans have been shown to be essential for effective MPA implementation; without them MPAs are less likely to meet their objectives. Lack of management plans for the UK Natura sites, a network of European protected areas, has led to the UK facing possible infraction charges from Europe for being in breach of our duties under the Habitats Directive, which could result in substantial fines. Thus there is a need for the MMO to develop a large number of robust MPA management plans, quickly. MPA management plans can have substantial consequences, not just for the marine environment they are designed to protect, but also for the coastal communities that depend on marine resources. Both ecological and socio-economic impacts must be considered alongside resourcing, feasibility, existing management provisions and the plethora of policy and legislation associated with UK MPAs. Just like the designation of MPAs, it is essential that the development of management plans is strategic, holistic, and uses the best available science.

The overarching aim of this three year project is to support the development of marine protected area management plans, underpinned by cutting edge science. The project will work in close conjunction with the marine management community (MMO, DEFRA, JNCC, CEFAS and Natural England) and outputs will be tailored to maximise their utility to the ongoing work of the MMO. The project will entail a series of strategic literature reviews and an estimated nine workshops. Workshops will be attended by both members of the marine management community and researchers, and they will focus on either filling gaps in the knowledge or developing decision support tools. In years one and two, the project will develop and populate a database on English MPAs, including the features they are designated for and the socio-economics of the coastal community's local to them. The project will also develop a classification scheme, in conjunction with the MMO, which will be used to categorise the strength of evidence contained within that database. In the third year, two workshops will be held to develop a matrix of different MPA management options. Finally, over two further workshops, a decision support framework for MPA management plans will be developed and trialled. This project will involve reviewing both completed and ongoing research and will be supported by a range of academics, including: Professor Callum Roberts, Dr Jan Hiddink, Professor Simon Jennings and Professor Hugh Possingham.

The project also aims to contribute to future NERC-MMO partnerships activities. Part of this project will involve feeding back to researchers about how they can tailor their research outputs and plan future projects to increase their utility for informing marine protected area management decisions, and hence how they can increase the impact of their work. This part of the project will undertaken in collaboration with Dr Abigail McQuatters-Gallop at University of Plymouth, who is a current NERC KE Fellow undertaking a related project KE project.

This project will advance the uptake of science into marine management decisions by improving availability of evidence and by providing a framework to support the incorporation of that evidence into governance. In doing so, it will contribute to increasing the impact of associated academic research. The outputs of this project will aid decision makers to simultaneously consider the complex marine environment, the diverse range of stakeholders that use it, the plethora of both national and international policy and legislation, and the realities of resource availability.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description But work is ongoing. The main finding so far is how poorly the MMO understand the academic community and how little the academic community understands of what the MMO does.
Exploitation Route I am hoping we can help the MMO develop new ways of interacting with acedemia
Sectors Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description This project is about Knowledge Exchange, and creating improved understanding between the UK Marine Management Organisation and the research community. It isn't a research project, though research forms an aspect of it. Almost all of the impacts are "non-academic" and most are intangible/very hard to pin down impacts that combine overtime to change lots of small things that together lead to cultural change in terms of interactions and enhanced appreciation between the two groups. For example the impacts that arise from conversations. I will elaborate. I visit the MMO regularly and spend a fair bit of time just discussing with them (particularly the evidence team) how academia works, what motivates academics/researchers and how they modify their 'offer' to encourage more collaborations. As a result they are starting to reference in documents the work that they have been using far more and they are increasingly saying how they are using things, though maybe not consistently yet. Only a few people are doing it, but overtime i am hoping it becomes more common practice and I will keep encouraging it. Not only will this show how science is being used but it will also overtime lead to more interaction/familiarity with the science, if for no other reason than it is presented more often within documentation. I also talk to researchers about the MMO, I go to conferences like the Coastal Futures conference, and gives talks about the MMO and collaborating with the MMO. I give talks and universities and contact researchers that are doing work of relevance to the MMO to see if new links can be made that are mutually beneficial. These links may or may not pan out, but if they do they will have a diverse range of impacts. I summarise work of researchers and share it with the MMO to help inform their evidence needs. Giving them science in a distilled format means it is more likely to be taken up.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Innovation
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S016015/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 12/2019
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Centre For Environment, Fisheries And Aquaculture Science
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Department Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARDNI)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Joint Nature Conservation Committee
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Evidence Mapping: methods for monitoring and evaluating spatial management 
Organisation Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a result of working in a KE capacity for the MMO, i develop a Innovation grant application (which was funded) to undertake an evidence mapping project that would meet some of the MMO and also other government departments evidence needs.
Collaborator Contribution Attending workshops and helped to develop the mapping protocol
Impact Very multidisciplinary, involving ecology, economics and social sciences, as well as spanning both academics and practitioners.
Start Year 2018
 
Description H2020 bid 
Organisation Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Department Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I was (jointly) leading a H2020 consortium bid, two stage. I organised a workshop before stage one submission, then brought together the 10 page stage 1 application. On successfully passing stage 1, I organised a second workshop, after which i co-ordinated and completed the stage two submission. The team of academics that I and my joint PI brought together span a wide breath of disciplines, from ecology, to economics, architecture to archeology, science communications to sociology. We bought prior knowledge, data sets, provided facilities and won the financial resources to host both workshops at University of Salford.
Collaborator Contribution The MMO were part of both stage 1 and stage two workshop. They sent two people, Aisling Lannin and David Hutchinson, to the stage 1 workshop. They attendance and contributions were fundamental to shaping the proposal. They provided insight both from their personal expertise, but also their extensive experience working on the front lines of marine management. They input made us thinking about the research proposal differently and had a substantial impact on the core focus on the project, which ended up being stakeholder lead management. The research questions were similar, but the approach was radically different.
Impact Submission of 2.7 Million Euro H2020 bid. We passed stage 1 and at stage 2 we are on the reserve list for funding,being highly fundable but not the top score, and are thus waiting. Update 2019: we heard in January that all funds were allocated so we did not get funded. We are currently exploring a UK only project.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Seafood traceability with Katie St John-Glew 
Organisation Department For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
Department Marine Management Organisation (MMO)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The MMO are potentially interested in developing a collaborative project with Katie around seafood traceability. They asked if I might help Katie develop a proposal for funding in which they would be a collaborator. After a few email exchanges with Katie we met up in London, at the coastal futures conference, and discussed options. I helped her frame her questions, explore different possible funding options and how she might develop a project that would be a real use to the MMO. Katie has subsequently asked me to involved in the development of the project and potantially future projects, which i have agreed to with the focus being ensuring utility and impact for the MMO.
Collaborator Contribution None yet, other than a few emails, but as we move forward and develop the grant proposal they will be involved.
Impact no outputs yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Coastal Futures Update 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave a talk at Coastal Futures conference on the collaboration work
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Joint MMO blog post 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A joint blog with the MMO and Dr Tweddle, the other NERC Fellow working with the MMO
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://marinedevelopments.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/22/knowledgeexchange/
 
Description Poster at Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented a poster and had discussion around the collaboration research undertaken as part of my work with the MMO
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation at Coastal Futures Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a talk at the Coastal Futures Conference in London on my work with the MMO and a particular project which is trying to elicit what motivates or prevents researchers from engaging with the MMO. Several people came and asked questions afterwards. I gave out some copies of the MMOs evidence needs. I provided additional information on the MMO evidence needs and offered introductions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Regular visits to the MMO 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I regularly visit the MMO in Newcastle. I discuss with them their evidence needs and activities to address them. I provide advice on how to improve interactions with researchers/foster collaborations and this has, slowly, been changing the way that they do a few things, such as acknowledging more the research they consider/incorporate into their thinking. In addition I have a number of specific projects. With the conservation team I am looking at ways of increasing clarity around UK MPAs, in terms of academics and the wider public's understanding. This will probably lead to a paper. I am also working with the evidence team looking at the impacts of recreational activities on MPAs.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at Liverpool Hope University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a talk at Liverpool Hope University on why it is essential engaging with end users when developing research projects to maximise impact, in this case improved conservation outcomes. I provided examples of my own work and focused mainly on my ongoing work with the MMO. I shared the MMO evidence needs and discussed how they could get involved. I had a series of one-to-one meetings with those interested afterwards. The audience was a mixture of lecturers, research staff, postgraduate and undergraduate students. Many of the staff had not worked with a government organisation before and were very interested to hear how that might be. I was told by one member of staff that they would be more likely to look for collaborative opportunities with government agencies now. I have since been told that several students have undertaken research projects that focus on stakeholder engagement with environmental decision making as a result of this talk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at the University of York 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a talk at the University of York on the importance of engaging with end users when developing research projects to ensure impact, in this case improved conservation outcomes. I provided examples of my own work and focused mainly on my ongoing work with the MMO. I shared the MMO evidence needs and discussed how they could get involved. I had a series of one-to-one meetings with those interested afterwards. The audience was a mixture of lecturers, research staff and postgraduate students. Many of the staff expressed an interest in working with the MMO and said that it was helpful to know where to start. They also said that he actual role of the MMO was different to what they had previously thought.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop at Challenger Society meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Held a workshop bringing together practitioners from various government institutions with academics to discuss barriers and incentives to collaboration between academia and government on marine management issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop at the Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Held a workshop bringing together practitioners from various government institutions with academics to discuss barriers and incentives to collaboration between academia and government on marine management issues.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018