A workshop was held on the Monitoring of National Marine Protected Areas

A workshop was held on the Monitoring of National Marine Protected Areas 900 498 The Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea

The integration of the different institutions with responsibility for the sea is key to continue moving towards its effective conservation. With the collaboration of 18 marine scientists and professionals from government institutions and the civil society, a meeting was held that contributed to promoting aspects of the implementation and governance of Argentine Marine Protected Areas (MPA) linked to the monitoring of biophysical indicators.

The AMPs recently created in Argentina -Namuncurá/Burdwood Bank II and Yaganes- are examples of great advances in the management and conservation of marine biodiversity. However, to achieve the objectives for which they were created, each AMP needs its own monitoring program based on specific indicators.

On the one hand, the workshop helped complete and endorse the guidelines on the identification of marine biophysical indicators prepared by the AMPs Working Group of Argentina of the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea. The possibility of having a manual or a methodological protocol for the development of an MPA Monitoring Program is helpful, brings agility, organizes the information and accelerates the implementation of the effective management of MPAs.

On the other hand, important inputs were generated for the future management plan of the MPA Yaganes. During the day, participants analyzed the specific objectives of the protected area and suggested possible indicators to be measured periodically in order to draw a baseline to be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this conservation unit.

Experts highlighted the seabed communities, the varied assemblages of pelagic species that inhabit the water column and threatened seabirds as some of the main conservation objects within the AMP Yaganes. They also pointed out the importance of this MPA as a corridor that connects the invertebrate and fish populations of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as its relevance as a feeding zone for several species of marine mammals that are not found elsewhere in Argentina.

The meeting was held on October 3 in the offices of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation (Buenos Aires). It was organized by the National Board of MPAs of the National Parks Administration (APN) and the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development. The Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea, through the collaboration agreement between the APN and WCS Argentina and with the support of Oceans5, participated in the organization of the meeting.

The importance of monitoring Marine Protected Areas

It is an important strategic step to implement programs for monitoring biophysical indicators in MPAs during the early stages of implementation of the National System of Marine Protected Areas (SNAMP).

Monitoring an MPA involves the periodic measurement of objective indicators. This step is essential for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the MPA, knowledge management, the adjustment of management actions and for giving explanations to the Congress and other audiences.

Monitoring systems give the possibility of having updated information, presence in the area using different platforms (ships, airplanes, satellites), they help inter-institutional coordination and transdisciplinary scientific research, and they enable the possibility of adapting management decisions and communicating the status of the MPA to different audiences.

The biophysical indicators identified during research campaigns and scientific meetings on the AMP Namuncurá / Burdwood Bank I (AMPNBB) conducted between 2014 and 2019 are valuable records crucial to advance the mission of the workshop.