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Establishment of marine managed areas (MMAs) is a long-term investment in secure and sustainable ecosystems—secure for the people that depend on them for sustenance and livelihoods, sustainable in terms of the longterm persistence of habitats and species present. The goal of MMAs is to operate over timescales of multiple generations and deliver returns of increased diversity and abundance of native organisms and ecosystem resilience, as the expected return of ecosystem health and robustness can take decades.

Creating MMAs in many different places throughout the world provides discovery of both local knowledge and global generalizations. This knowledge forms a powerful management tool that can be tailored to specific locations.

This document draws on MMA experiences worldwide by synthesizing results from over 25 natural science studies conducted over the past five years in 18 tropical countries in 48 MMAs. The analysis focuses on the role of MMAs in maintaining healthy oceans, showing that MMAs can be used to enhance fisheries outside their borders and safeguard threatened species. Conserving multiple habitats using MMAs can also protect diverse livelihoods and increase fisheries yields. Local protection of marine resources through the MMA process can provide strong local benefits to species, habitats, and people. Local protection buffers against global climate change impacts while maintaining the richness of marine life. Finally, MMAs benefit by using new scientific approaches and engaging citizen scientists.

Living with the Sea is a reader-friendly, richly illustrated 20-page booklet that examines the role of marine managed areas in restoring and sustaining healthy oceans, particularly the importance of local management efforts. Based on 5 years of natural and social science research in 23 countries, it is intended to advance discussions among government agencies, non-government organizations, user groups, and other stakeholders about how and why to implement integrated management for the ocean. Living with the Sea is a publication of the Science-to-Action partnership, which includes more than 75 organizations led by Conservation International’s Marine Management Area Science Program.

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Lead authors
Les Kaufman (Boston University and Conservation International)
John Tschirky (Conservation International)

Contributing authors
Octavio Aburto (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)
Paul Anderson (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme)
James Atherton (Conservation International)
Thomas Brooks (NatureServe)
Monica Calvopiña (University of Tasmania)
Kent Carpenter (IUCN/CI Global Marine Species
Assessment, Old Dominion University)
Naamal De Silva (Conservation International)
Guilherme Dutra (Conservation International/Brazil)
Graham Edgar (University of Tasmania)
Leah Bunce Karrer (Conservation International)
Ken Lindeman (Florida Institute of Technology)
Suzanne Livingstone (IUCN/CI Global Marine Species Assessment, Old Dominion University)
Stephen Palumbi (Stanford University)
Beth Polidoro (IUCN/CI Global Marine Species
Assessment, Old Dominion University)
Enric Sala (National Geographic Society)
Sue Taei (Conservation International)

Images from the booklet
These images may be downloaded for use in presentations and documents.
Conceptual model
(page 4)
Gulf of Honduras map (p. 6)
Belize map (p. 6)
Cabo Pulma, Mexico, map (p. 7)
Corumbau, Brazil, map (p. 7)
Dog snapper life cycle graph (p. 8)
Lobster life cycle diagram (p. 8)
Graph: fish density in disturbed and undisturbed mangroves (p. 9)
Graph: increase in fish and crab landings with mangrove area (p. 9)
Fiji connectivity map (p. 10)
Conceptual diagram of dispersal distances (p. 11)
Biogeographic affinities map (p. 11)
Hawaii spillover map (p. 11)
Galapagos map (p. 12)
Phoenix and Line Islands map (p. 13)
Graph: coral recovery on protected and unprotected reefs after bleaching event (p. 13)
Graph: percentage of species listed as threatened (p. 14)
Graph: range sizes (p. 15)
Graph: recovery of threatened fishes (p. 15)
Coral Health Index figure (p. 16)
Graph: Vibrio concentrations on protected and unprotected reefs (p. 16)