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Marine protected areas dashboard

As soon as they are established, marine protected areas have the responsibility for effectively protecting the marine environment. As a result of their legal status, some marine protected areas may have broader goals, extending beyond nature conservation, such as sustainably developing professional or leisure activities, or preserving cultural heritage or a maritime identity. Alone, a marine protected area (MPA) has a local, and limited, range of action. Marine environment conservation must be addressed on several scales – local, regional and national – hence the importance of creating a coherent, representative and effective network of MPAs. Maritime nations have a major responsibility in these matters.

Being the world’s second-largest maritime nation after the USA, with seas spanning 11 million km² mainly in the nation’s overseas territories, France is conducting a pro-active policy to establish MPA in its waters. It thus seeks to meet the international commitments made under the Convention on biological diversity, aiming to create a coherent, representative and effective MPA network across 20% of French waters by 2020. The development of this network draws on the strong political impetus given by the French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy and relies on one of its national public entities, the French Marine Protected Areas Agency (Agence des aires marines protégées).

The need to assess public policies, including nature conservation policies, is a priority for the French government. The policy for the creation and management of marine protected areas requires signifi cant human and fi nancial resources.
We must therefore report to the population on the results of the actions undertaken and assess the extent to which long-term goals have been achieved.

How can we assess whether an MPA network effectively protects a nation’s marine environment?

On a local scale, how can we assess whether a marine protected area achieves the goals set when it was established? How should we report the results? How should the management measures be adapted in consequence?

To answer these questions, the French MPA Agency is mandated by the Ministry for Ecology with developing the marine protected areas dashboard.

This political, technical and scientifi c project aims to evaluate the individual effectiveness of each marine protected area and to contribute to national assessment of France’s network. In this context, it must provide tools that the various French MPAs can share, i.e. methodologies, harmonised monitoring systems and indicators, IT tools and communication and training material.

The project began in 2007 with several mainland and overseas pilot marine protected areas (marine nature parks, national nature reserves, national parks, Natura 2000 sites, etc.) which volunteered to take part in and contribute to this emerging study that involves MPA managers, Government services and scientifi c organisations.

Document date : 11/2014

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