Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lessons Learned from Central Coast

Many participants in the Central Coast iteration of MLPA felt steamrolled by the process and lack confidence in the outcomes. Read their suggestions for improving the process.

  • The State should commit to providing a quality product, including best available science and socio-economic information [rather than expediting a decision based on inadequate information because ‘time did not allow…’]
  • The ecosystem benefits of current fishery regulations should be fully integrated into SAT guidelines from the beginning of discussion, and MPAs should be designed against a backdrop of existing fishery regulations
  • Both the State and NOAA Fisheries have moved to an eco-system based management philosophy, and very strong management measures have been put into place. As was heard at several points during the MLPAI process, overfishing is no longer occurring off the coast of California.
  • SAT guidelines and other SAT products should be subject to full scientific peer review (at least 3, preferably 5 reviewers, including scientists expert in fishery and oceanographic disciplines), with stakeholder input in the selection of the reviewers. This review should occur BEFORE MPA network packages are evaluated.
  • ...ecological theorists dominated the SAT. Scientists with population dynamics and oceanographic expertise were not replaced in-kind, and this imbalance led to a SAT membership that engaged in virtually no skeptical debate about assumptions and other science questions involved in creating the science guidelines.
  • Be clear to identify and separate science assumptions from policy decisions.
  • One problem with the MLPA is that the science assertions made for the value of MPAs are based on MPA work done largely in tropical areas with different species and different fishing cultures.

No comments: