Using Scientific Knowledge for Management and Conservation Solutions
The Marine Management Area Science Program puts science into action to benefit people and nature. We partner with policy makers, resource managers, and other decision-makers at local to global levels to facilitate successful, science-based conservation. In all activities, we use a Science-to-Action (S2A) approach. In local areas and globally, we work with managers, policy decision makers, and other stakeholders to identify the most critical information to improve management and the best ways to provide the information for maximum impact. We assemble teams of scientists to generate the needed information, and the scientists work in close partnership with stakeholders, often including stakeholders in the research team.
We share scientific findings informally through continuing communication and more formally through one-on-one discussions with key decision makers, meetings of stakeholders such as fishermen’s cooperatives and community workshops, and media such as radio broadcasts and television programs. To facilitate exchange of information, we produce Science-to-Action materials such as white papers, synthesis booklets, interactive tools, videos, posters and guidebooks.
The long-term involvement of Science-to-Action Coordinators in each of the four MMAS Focus Areas is essential. They ensure that scientific knowledge continues to inform decision-making beyond the original timelines of individual research projects.
Examples of Science-to-Action Accomplishments
Science-to-Action initiatives have led to the improvement of fishing regulations in Panama and the establishment of new marine management areas in Fiji, Brazil, and the southern Pacific Ocean. Similar Science-to-Action initiatives are under way in Belize and globally.
Thirty-five stakeholders and scientists met in February 2010 to discuss key messages from MMAS research in Belize. As next steps, they developing a paper to Cabinet urging enhanced mangrove regulations, and they are engaging with the Belize Tourism Board on codes of conduct for tourists to prevent damage to coral reefs and fish spawning sites.
Our scientists discovered extensive areas of coral reefs with tremendous biodiversity offshore at Abrolhos Bank and demonstrated key ecological connections among these areas and coastal habitats. In 2010, Abrolhos National Marine Park has been designated a Ramsar site, joining the global list of Wetlands of International Importance. The recognition was influenced in part by MMAS scientific findings that were used to compose the technical proposal submitted by the Brazilian government.
When leaders in Nagigi village heard our findings about the genetic uniqueness of Fiji’s fish and the intra-connectedness of the archipelago, they decided to create a marine management area in their local waters.
Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS)
Based in part on MMAS research in Coiba National Park, a partnership of scientists, fishermen, conservation organizations, and park managers agreed to pursue new fisheries regulations to ensure sustainable use.
We released the first global compilation of the economic values of reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses, and the first global assessment of socioeconomic conditions of the tropical coasts, which have already been used by World Bank staff, Asian Development Bank staff, and a U.S. Congresswoman to demonstrate the importance of coral reefs in areas they want to protect.