Clarke, B.; Thurstan, R.H.; and Yates, K.L, 2016. Stakeholder perceptions of a coastal marine protected area, . In: Vila-Concejo, A.; Bruce, E.; Kennedy, D.M., and McCarroll, R.J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Coastal Symposium (Sydney, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 75, pp. 622–626. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly utilised marine and coastal management tool, with rates of designation rising steeply over the last twenty years. MPAs are most commonly designated for biological conservation objectives and the management is thus focused primarily on meeting conservation goals, with associated monitoring programs gathering data on a narrow suite of biological indicators. However, MPAs also have a wide range of potential social and economic impacts and the ability to meet the goals of an MPA is highly influenced by the often unmonitored perceptions and buy-in of local stakeholders. Here we examine a range of stakeholder perceptions concerning a coastal MPA in South Australia. We conducted semi-structured interviews with individuals engaged in the MPA's planning and designation process, as well as those involved with its ongoing management. We explored their understanding of the purpose of the MPA, whether they thought the MPA was successful and the future management challenges the MPA might face. In particular, we focused on eliciting from stakeholders indicators they thought should be used to monitor the ongoing performance of the MPA. Perceptions varied between stakeholder groups, however, the majority of respondents highlighted the importance of socio-economic factors in the ongoing performance of the MPA. The vast majority of them suggested both biological and socio-economic indicators that should be incorporated into monitoring programs. Our findings highlight the need for MPA planning and management, when defining goals and developing monitoring programs, to be mindful to incorporate social and economic, as well as, biological indicators.