NMSC Case Study
In May 2012, NSMC (North Sea Marine Cluster) published a case study examining the Chagos Archipelago. The report was commissioned to help inform consideration of how the goal of protecting the marine habitats and species around the Chagos can be achieved. The findings were that:
- The MPA objectives and the delivery mechanisms need to take into account the resources that can be made available, but equally adequate resources will need to be found to secure the stated goals. We believe that it is important to be clear from the outset about objectives and what success will look like, and to be realistic about costs. We would not expect this to be a comfortable process, but we caution against fudging. Tempting as it may be in the short term, the end result is invariably disappointment and criticism.
- With the foregoing in mind, the report’s conclusion that declaration of the MPA will carry additional cost consequences is unlikely to be welcome. The Bertarelli Foundation’s donation of £3.5 million over the next five years and the efforts of the Blue Marine Foundation to facilitate this are to be applauded. It is likely that similar and further innovative thinking will be required to ensure that in ten year’s time the Chagos MPA will be heralded world-wide as an example of a well managed and highly effective MPA. The report offers some suggestions and ideas.
- Success will depend not just on the money spent – from whatever source. It will depend critically on how effectively and efficiently the money is used and how well the resources are deployed. It is the central theme of this report. Declaring a MPA is just the start. The really difficult part is making it happen in the way intended. Fortunately, there is plenty of expertise that can be tapped into across all sectors. It has already been demonstrated that there is room for a collaborative approach. The report is offered in this spirit.
BIOT Interim Conservation Management Framework
There is currently no final MPA Management Plan, but an Interim Conservation Management Framework has been drawn up by the BIOT for 2014 to 2015. This is an "Interim" plan because it recognises that UK and BIOT Government policies in the Territory may change particularly following completion of the resettlement feasibility study reporting in early 2015.
The Framework is an ambitious list of "proposed actions" some of which were already in progress before the MPA was created and some of which have not yet commenced. As such it is in part a 'wish list' rather than an indication of an intense scientific campaign in progress in the Chagos. The reality is that between 1 and 2 scientific expeditions take place each year for about 3 weeks each. It remains a remote and inaccessible place where it is very expensive to conduct scientific research. More details of the science can be found at Chagos Science.
The Framework can be downloaded from the link below.