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Marine conservation actions are promoted to conserve natural values and support human wellbeing. Yet the quality of governance processes and the social consequences of some marine conservation initiatives have been the subject of critique and even human rights complaints. These types of governance and social issues may jeopardize the legitimacy of, support for and long-term effectiveness of marine conservation. Thus, we argue that a clearly articulated and comprehensive set of social standards - a code of conduct - is needed to guide marine conservation. In this paper, we draw on the results of an expert meeting and scoping review to present key principles that might be taken into account in a code of conduct, to propose a draft set of foundational elements for inclusion in a code of conduct, to discuss the benefits and challenges of such a document, and to propose next steps to develop and facilitate the uptake of a broadly applicable code of conduct within the marine conservation community. The objectives of developing such a code of conduct are to promote fair conservation governance and decision-making, socially just conservation actions and outcomes, and accountable conservation practitioners and organizations. The uptake and implementation of a code of conduct would enable marine conservation to be both socially acceptable and ecologically effective, thereby contributing to a truly sustainable ocean.
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Marine Policy
journal homepage:
An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation
Nathan J. Bennett
, Lydia Teh
, Yoshitaka Ota
, Patrick Christie
, Adam Ayers
, Jon C. Day
Phil Franks
, David Gill
, Rebecca L. Gruby
, John N. Kittinger
, J. Zachary Koehn
Naia. Lewis
, John Parks
, Marjo Vierros
, Tara S. Whitty
, Aulani Wilhelm
, Kim Wright
Jaime A. Aburto
, Elena M. Finkbeiner
, Carlos F. Gaymer
, Hugh Govan
, Noella Gray
Rebecca M. Jarvis
, Maery Kaplan-Hallam
, Terre Sattereld
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Canada
School of Marine and Environmental Aairs, University of Washington, USA
Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, USA
Nereus Program and Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Canada
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, USA
Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR), NOAA Pacic Islands Fisheries Science Center, USA
ARC Centre for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Australia
International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), London, UK
Luc Homann Institute, World Wildlife Fund International, Switzerland & National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), University of Maryland, USA
Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University, USA
Center for Oceans, Conservation International, USA
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, USA
Big Ocean
Marine Management Solutions, USA
Coastal Policy and Humanities Research, Canada
Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA
Coastal, Marine and Island Environments Program, Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA) Consortium, Canada
Millennium Nucleus for Ecology and Sustainable Management of Oceanic Islands (ESMOI), Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile
Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, USA
Locally-Managed Marine Area Network, Fiji
Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Canada
Institute for Applied Ecology New Zealand, School of Science, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
Sydney Institute of Marine Science, Australia
Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA
School of Government, Development & International Aairs (SGDIA), University of the South Pacic (USP), Fiji
Marine conservation
Code of conduct
Environmental governance
Environmental management
Conservation planning
Conservation social science
Marine conservation actions are promoted to conserve natural values and support human wellbeing. Yet the
quality of governance processes and the social consequences of some marine conservation initiatives have been
the subject of critique and even human rights complaints. These types of governance and social issues may
jeopardize the legitimacy of, support for and long-term eectiveness of marine conservation. Thus, we argue that
a clearly articulated and comprehensive set of social standards - a code of conduct - is needed to guide marine
conservation. In this paper, we draw on the results of an expert meeting and scoping review to present key
principles that might be taken into account in a code of conduct, to propose a draft set of foundational elements
for inclusion in a code of conduct, to discuss the benets and challenges of such a document, and to propose next
steps to develop and facilitate the uptake of a broadly applicable code of conduct within the marine conservation
community. The objectives of developing such a code of conduct are to promote fair conservation governance
and decision-making, socially just conservation actions and outcomes, and accountable conservation practi-
Received 1 February 2017; Received in revised form 27 March 2017; Accepted 27 March 2017
Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (N.J. Bennett), (L. Teh), (Y. Ota), (P. Christie), (A. Ayers), (J.C. Day), (P. Franks), (D. Gill), (R.L. Gruby), (J.N. Kittinger), (J.Z. Koehn), (N. Lewis), (J. Parks), (M. Vierros), (T.S. Whitty), (A. Wilhelm), (K. Wright), (J.A. Aburto), (E.M. Finkbeiner), (C.F. Gaymer), (H. Govan), (N. Gray), (R.M. Jarvis), (M. Kaplan-Hallam), (T. Sattereld).
Marine Policy 81 (2017) 411–418
0308-597X/ © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
tioners and organizations. The uptake and implementation of a code of conduct would enable marine
conservation to be both socially acceptable and ecologically eective, thereby contributing to a truly sustainable
1. Marine conservation: In need of a social standard
Action is needed to conserve and manage the marine environment
in order to maintain healthy ecosystems and human wellbeing. This is
particularly true in a world with mounting anthropogenic threats,
including overshing, pollution, coastal population growth, biodiver-
sity loss, habitat destruction and climate change [13]. The interna-
tional community has responded by pushing for increased marine
conservation and management. Notable examples include the Conven-
tion on Biological Diversity (Aichi Target 11) and United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 14) [4,5]. Both platforms articu-
late targets of 10% protection of marine and coastal areas in marine
protected areas (MPAs) by 2020. In a motion approved at the recent
2016 World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is advocating for an even
more ambitious goal of 30% coverage in MPAs (See: https://portals. Some conservation organizations are
even promoting a goal of 50% through the Nature Needs Half move-
ment [6,7]. Indeed, marine conservation targets, supported by regional
initiatives and national eorts, have led to a signicant increase in the
scope and scale of marine conservation eorts globally [8]. Further,
MPAs are just one tool in a suite of marine conservation and manage-
ment actions e.g., sheries management, ecosystem-based manage-
ment, marine spatial planning, nature-based adaptation measures, blue
carbon projects, etc. - that are being promoted and implemented around
the world in response to resource degradation, climate change and
Yet in the push to rapidly increase marine management and
conservation interventions with the aim of reversing downward envir-
onmental trends [8,9], there is a real danger that the marine conserva-
tion community may promote actions that are socially unjust or
inappropriate. Past research has demonstrated unsatisfactory govern-
ance and decision-making processes and unintended negative social
consequences that can occur in the creation of terrestrial protected
areas in a variety of dierent settings [1012]. Such critical reviews of
conservation practice have documented a lack of consultation, physical
displacement, perpetration of violence, cultural disruption, social
marginalization, loss of livelihoods, and increased poverty. Recently,
the UN Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council recently released a
report on human rights violations related to conservation of terrestrial
biodiversity [13].
While these types of issues have been long recognized in terrestrial
conservation, there is evidence of similar problems occurring in some
marine conservation initiatives. For example, recent accounts have
documented marine conservation initiatives that lack consultation or
consent prior to implementation [1416], fail to account for the rights
and needs of local people [1719], physically displace communities
[20,21], produce inequitable social impacts [2224], disempower local
communities [25,26] and undermine traditional and functioning re-
source management regimes [27]. These issues have led some scholars
and practitioners to question whether some marine conservation
initiatives should be labeled as a form of ocean grabbingwhen
governance processes are poor or when rights and resources are taken
from small-scale shers, indigenous peoples, and/or coastal commu-
nities [28,29].
Issues such as these can produce several well-documented chal-
lenges for conservation. First, some actions might be deemed unjust or
unlawful, which might lead to complaints to human rights bodies or
lengthy court battles [13,17]. Actions that contravene fundamental
human rights or ignore indigenous rights in the name of marine
conservation are not only unacceptable, they are also counter-produc-
tive. Second, for conservation funders and NGOs, these critiques also
pose a signicant risk to the brandof organizations and the social
license of conservation [12,30]. This can lead to justiable activism
against individual NGOs or conservation by local communities, indi-
genous groups or small-scale sheries organizations, or in global
conservation fora [29,3133]. Third, there is the risk that unacceptable
governance, actions or impacts will produce local opposition, slow
progress towards targets, and, ultimately, undermine the eectiveness
and success of marine conservation [14,23].
We recognize that there are numerous examples of positive marine
conservation initiatives that incorporate participatory planning pro-
cesses [3437], that have taken into account social and cultural
considerations [38,39], that consider livelihoods and are co-managed
[4043], that recognize local and indigenous community initiatives to
conserve local resources [25,35,44], and that have produced positive
social outcomes to the benet of natural resource management eorts
[4548]. Furthermore, generally speaking, there is good will within the
international community to consider the concerns and needs of people
when designing conservation actions. Marine conservation is often
motivated by both ecological and social concerns [49]. There is also
increasing attention to good governance [50,51] and the human
dimensions of marine conservation [39,42,52,53]. Yet, overall, it is
dicult to determine the extent to which past marine conservation
processes and actions have been inclusive and just in practice. To
improve the quality of governance, the social benets and the success of
marine conservation eorts, we feel it is justied and important for
there to be a solid and defensible foundational platform for future
Thus, rather than dwell on past mistakes, we issue a call to action
and propose a way forward to reduce the occurrence of poor govern-
ance and negative impacts in future eorts to achieve marine con-
servation objectives. Specically, we argue that there is a well-
recognized gap and need for a code of conduct to guide the actions of
all members of the marine conservation community. This is exemplied
by the increasing number of individuals and organizations including
local communities, practitioners, academics and NGOs - that are calling
for a foundational set of guiding principles or social standards to guide
conservation practitioners [28,5456]. Notably, one outcome of a
recent global Think Tank on the Human Dimensions of Large Scale
Marine Protected Areas attended by more than 125 scholars,
practitioners, funders and managers from around the world - was a
call by a group of those present for the development of such a code of
conduct for marine conservation [57,58]. Many other professions,
including doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants and teachers, have
codes of conduct to establish a rm foundation for practice. However,
there is no similar social standard or mechanism to guide the actions of
individual conservation practitioners, organizations or governments or
to hold them accountable. A Hippocratic Oath is needed for conserva-
2. Towards a code of conduct for marine conservation
Recognizing this gap and the perceived need for such a social
standard, several of this paper's authors initiated a research project and
collaborative process to explore and develop these ideas further. This
included conducting a scoping review and convening an expert meet-
ing. First, the three lead authors on this paper conducted a preliminary
review of the literature and prepared an initial summative list of the
principles that we found for further discussion at the expert meeting.
N.J. Bennett et al. Marine Policy 81 (2017) 411–418
Table 1
Review of key principles, guiding questions and reference documents for a code of conduct for conservation.
Governance and Decision-Making Principles
Principles Guiding Questions Relevant Policies and Guidelines
Recognition Are the presence and rights of local groups, including minorities, marginalized groups,
traditional resource users and indigenous groups, duly acknowledged in conservation plans
and policies? Are pre-existing national and local laws, governance arrangements and
management processes recognized?
Participation Are there clear processes for identifying and engaging all stakeholders (with dierentiation of
rights holders) in decision-making and action-taking?
Inclusivity Are there governance structures that include and equitably represent all implicated
stakeholders, rights-holders and relevant groups in decision-making processes?
Voice Are there processes to ensure the perspectives and dierent worldviews of all relevant
stakeholders, rights-holders and relevant groups are taken into account, and equitably
represented throughout the process?
Due process Are the legal obligations, customary rules, and informal regulations adequately respected and
followed to ensure the legitimacy of the process?
Self-determination Are sovereignty and autonomy issues recognized? Are steps taken to ensure recognized
authorities and constituents have control over decision-making processes and outcomes? Are
nationally and democratically dened social and environmental priorities understood and
Free, prior, and
informed consent
Are steps taken to inform communities and stakeholders of the short and long-term costs and
benets associated with conservation interventions and policies? Are there mutually agreed
terms for conservation processes? Is consent obtained through an informed, fair and legal
process? Has consent (written or verbal) been properly documented?
Capacity Is support provided to ensure constituents and communities possess the capacity (skills,
knowledge, time, resources) to fully participate in all stages of participatory planning,
decision-making and action-taking? Are adequate resources provided to enable all parties to
carry out their agreed upon roles and management responsibilities after implementation?
Social Justice Principles
Principles Guiding Questions Relevant Policies and Guidelines
Human rights Are measures in place to protect human rights, dignity, and freedoms of all groups? Are there
processes to respond to complaints about violations?
Tenure Are pre-existing and customary claims to access, use and harvest marine areas resources
recognized, respected and incorporated into planning?
Indigenous rights Are indigenous rights recognized and respected? Are indigenous rights and values not
infringed upon? Do conservation processes strengthen cooperation around resolving issues
faced by indigenous peoples?
Intellectual property Are proprietary information and traditional knowledge systems safeguarded for the integrity
of knowledge holders? Are policies in place to ensure that communities are fairly credited for
their knowledge and contribution to scientic research, that researchers return to share and
discuss knowledge and research products with communities and that ownership of data and
research products are claried?
Cultural diversity and
Are cultural practices, artifacts, places, values and activities both historical and present
incorporated into conservation planning and management?
Social well-being Are programs in place to maintain or improve the quality of life and standard of living of local
people? Are social well-being considerations being monitored?
Food and livelihood
Are measures in place to ensure that food and livelihood security are not compromised by the
conservation intervention? Are mechanisms in place to ensure access to income and resources
are adequate to meet basic needs?
Equitable distribution Are actions taken to ensure present and future costs and benets of conservation are
distributed among stakeholders and rights holders, so that outcomes are considered to be
acceptable by all parties?
Access and benet
Are access and benet sharing agreements in place to ensure that access and benets are
equitably distributed and ow to those who will be impacted?
Are adequate management actions being taken to ensure marine ecosystems remain healthy
so as to generate the goods and services required by resource dependent communities?
Accountability Principles
Principles Guiding Questions Relevant Policies and Guidelines
Learning Are there iterative processes and an organizational culture to enable learning about social
considerations and performance, including both successes and failures, and to ensure past
mistakes are not repeated in future conservation policies and initiatives? Are there adequate
spaces and processes to support reection and deliberation?
Adaptive management Are social impact monitoring and evaluation protocols being used and results communicated?
Are conservation initiatives being adaptively managed based on monitoring and evaluation of
social impacts?
Transparency Is open communication encouraged and eective in avoiding mis-reporting or concealment of
information, costs and benets? Are active steps being taken to communicate about how
decisions are made, the rationale for decisions, and the results of conservation actions? Is
information provided in an accessible, understandable, useful and timely manner?
Accountability Is there an independent process (e.g., third party audits) to evaluate and verify conservation
performance? Is there a mechanism to ensure that parties are held responsible (e.g.,
sanctions) for their actions and transgressions?
Conict resolution Are ecient and accessible conict and dispute resolution mechanisms available to negotiate
and resolve emerging and outstanding issues?
Remediation or redress
Have processes been set up to seek remedial action (e.g., compensation or structural
readjustment) for past infringements of rights or to nd solutions to emerging issues?
N.J. Bennett et al. Marine Policy 81 (2017) 411–418
Second, we convened meeting of experts as a side event at the IUCN
2016 World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, Hawaii to discuss
acceptable and unacceptable processes and practices in the context of
marine conservation. Our overall sample (n =18) for the meeting was
opportunistic. We identied and invited scholars (n =12) and practi-
tioners (n =6) involved in marine conservation and management who
were already going to be present at the IUCN congress. During the
meeting, which was facilitated by the lead author of this paper, we
claried the rationale for a code of conduct and the parties to whom the
code would apply, brainstormed other relevant codes and international
policy documents, discussed the aims and principles that might be
included in a code of conduct, examined the potential benets and
challenges of a code of conduct, and explored next steps in the
development and promotion of a code of conduct within the marine
conservation community. Notes were taken during the workshop and
later analyzed for key themes by the lead author of this paper. Third, to
arrive at a summative list of principles, we conducted an inductive
review of conservation policies and standards, foundational interna-
tional policy documents from organizations such as the FAO, the United
Nations, the CBD and the IUCN, and peer-reviewed literature as
identied by the authors and workshop participants. This paper
presents the results from both the expert meeting and scoping review.
2.1. Key principles and objectives
In convening this discussion, we recognized that there already exists
a diverse set of codes of conduct or similar documents related to
conservation that have emerged from dierent international policy
contexts [59,60,61], that pertain to dierent scales from local to global
[62,63] and that deal with specic concerns such as rights or culture
[55,64]. However, a broadly applicable guidance document that
identies key responsibilities and accountabilities does not exist for
marine conservation. Such a document would need to be relevant to the
diverse parties engaged in marine conservation including researchers,
governments, NGOs, private sector and local organizations and to
dierent types and scales of initiatives. It would need to consider
distinct societal perceptions of and aspirations for the ocean, unique
access regimes and ways that people interact with the ocean in various
contexts, the trans-boundary nature of many marine resources, and the
shared legacy and common responsibility associated with areas beyond
national jurisdiction. The guiding responsibilities and accountabilities
identied in the document would also need to apply to dierent
processes associated with marine conservation (e.g., research, policy
development, decision-making, management, public outreach/engage-
ment), including at dierent stages within the process (e.g., prior to
entry, during entry, in the planning phase, during implementation, in
ongoing management and in monitoring and adaptation).
It was agreed that a primary focus of such a code of conduct is the
key principles that should guide marine conservation actions. Key
considerations that emerged from this policy and literature review
ranged from fundamental concerns such as protection of basic human
rights [65,66] to more aspirational goals related to equity in the
distribution of costs and benets [4,60]. Drawing on the results of
the expert meeting and the scoping review, we present a comprehensive
list of the key principles that both experts and policy documents
suggested ought to guide conservation. We present these principles
along with a set of guiding questions and supporting references to key
policy and guidance documents (Table 1). Most of the principles are
well-recognized and developed concepts in international conventions
and agreements, that many countries are signatory to, as well as in
conservation policy documents (Appendix A).
Based on this review of principles and our discussions at the expert
meeting at the World Conservation Congress, we also propose a draft
set of objectives and recommendations that should be considered in the
development of a marine conservation code of conduct (Box 1). Our
draft proposal for a code of conduct includes three broad objectives
Box 1
Draft proposal of objectives and recommendations for a code of conduct for marine conservation, which will need to be reviewed, tested and
rened by a broader group of stakeholders and practitioners.
Towards a Code of Conduct for Marine Conservation.
(Draft Objectives and Recommendations for Further Discussion and Development).
I. Fair conservation governance and decision-making processes
Ensure recognition of and respect for the presence and rights of local communities, indigenous people, traditional users and marginalized
Facilitate decisions through participatory processes, which are inclusive of stakeholders and rights-holders and give equal voice
irrespective of gender, ethnicity, ability, age, language, religion, socioeconomic status or nationality.
Follow due process and respect the right of self-determination for sovereign nations and autonomous groups.
Document free, prior and informed consent.
Ensure availability of adequate resources and capacity to support collaboration during planning stages and in eective management.
II. Socially-just conservation actions and outcomes
Protect inherent and fundamental human rights, dignity and freedoms.
Recognize and respect local tenure and indigenous rights to resources, traditional and cultural practices, including arming existing areas
and territories conserved and sustainably used by indigenous peoples and local communities.
Protect intellectual property and cultural diversity and heritage.
Consider the needs and aspirations of stakeholders and rights holders to maintain and make eorts to increase social wellbeing.
Maintain food and livelihood security for local people and communities.
Promote equitable distribution of benets and costs, including fair access and benet sharing agreements.
Ensure that actions taken increase environmental sustainability and the provisioning of ecosystem goods and services.
III. Accountable conservation initiatives and organizations.
Employ a process of planning, iterative learning and adaptive management based on social considerations, including incorporating lessons
from past mistakes in future initiatives.
Commit to adhering to these principles and adopt a policy of transparency and accountability that includes a system of downward
accountability, independent auditing and graduated sanctions for transgressions.
Enable access to fair mechanisms for conict resolution and remediation or redress where needed.
N.J. Bennett et al. Marine Policy 81 (2017) 411–418
fair governance and decision-making, socially just actions and out-
comes, and accountable organizations and initiatives. These three
central objectives are supported by a set of recommendation statements
that contain the principles (underlined terms) from the scoping review.
We emphasize that this draft set of objectives, recommendations and
principles should be further tested and rened by a community of
practice through time.
2.2. The benets and challenges of a code of conduct
We propose three primary benets or applications for this set of
objectives and guiding principles. First, as an educational or capacity
building tool, the code can familiarize emerging conservation profes-
sionals with the issues and inspire the next generation of conserva-
tionists to engage with conservation in ways that are appropriate and
mindful of diering social, cultural, economic and institutional contexts
to facilitate more eective outcomes. Second, as a guidance document,
the code would serve as a reference or set of guidelines for conservation
organizations in order to promote more just and equitable conservation
policies and practice. This would enable early and proactive engage-
ment with appropriate actions rather than waiting and reacting when
conict arises. It might also serve as a reference for developing more
context, project or organization specic codes of conduct. Finally, as an
accountability mechanism, the code might form the basis of a set of
measurable performance indicators that could be used to hold members
(i.e., donors, NGOs, governments, researchers, individual practitioners)
of the marine conservation community accountable for their actions.
On this last point, we emphasize that there is currently a lack of reliable
accountability mechanisms in conservation in particular, for interna-
tional conservation funders and NGOs who may lack sucient over-
sight [56,118]. Clear accountability is necessary to ensure legitimacy
and social license. In short, the code of conduct might function as either
a carrot(an incentive mechanism to encourage and reward good
performance) or a stick(an enforcement mechanism to deter bad
performance) depending on how it is operationalized. For example,
communities might use a code of conduct as a reference either to
proactively inspire appropriate conservation or reactively to hold
conservation agencies and organizations accountable who are working
in their area.
While there are clear benets, we also recognize that there are some
potential challenges. A code of conduct runs the risk of becoming a
simple checklist that enables a lowest common denominatoreect,
whereby individuals or organizations only complete the minimum
requirements. There is also the risk that conservation professionals will
only abide by the outlined principles in the short term, instead of the
sustained and continuous engagement that is required to build im-
proved relations and increase the likelihood of conservation success.
Finally, while a high-level code can provide generic guidance, con-
servation professionals will likely need to test and validate or recon-
gure these principles in dierent locales and sites. A result could be
negotiation of local or regional codes that are mutually agreed with
those implicated. Cognizant of these challenges, we emphasize that
adapting these principles and ongoing monitoring is needed to ensure
such a code of conduct is developed and applied in a way that is both
legitimate and eective for dierent socio-political contexts.
2.3. The way forward: Developing, promoting and implementing a code of
The initial workshop on the code of conduct and this scoping paper
are the rst steps in what we hope will be a longer process of
developing, promoting and implementing a broadly applicable code
of conduct for marine conservation. While we present a review of
principles in Table 1 and a draft set of objectives and recommendations
in Box 1, the development of a legitimate and recognized code of
conduct will require a longer process of engagement, development, and
negotiation with a broader constituency and more diverse group of
stakeholders at dierent scales. An essential next step is to develop an
understanding of what enables a code to be eective in application for
example, through reviewing and evaluating the impacts of past
processes and codes to determine what has worked or has not worked
to foster change in conservation practice or encourage accountability.
A number of dierent groups should be engaged throughout the
process of developing, promoting and implementing a code of conduct.
These groups include international conservation and intergovernmental
bodies (e.g., the International Union for the Conservation of Nature,
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), bi-and multi-lateral
conservation initiatives, governments and agencies, conservation fun-
ders and NGOs, civil society and community-based organizations, and
academics. Capacity, nancing, and skilled group facilitation will be
needed for these parties to meaningfully participate and contribute.
Ultimately, the success of such an initiative will rely on central
individuals and organizations that are willing to champion and support
the cause. Conservation policy focused meetings that would provide an
opportunity to move the discussion and initiative forward include,
among others, the upcoming United Nations Conference to Support the
Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (New York, June
2017), IUCN International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC4,
Chile, September 2017), and future Conferences of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity.
Once developed, further action would be required to present the
code in dierent formats to inspire actions such as educational
manuals for practitioners, or clear practical guidelines for conservation
organizations who want to implement the code or adapt it to dierent
contexts. Guidance documents should be developed that articulate clear
indicators, metrics and monitoring mechanisms to help organizations
identify the level to which dierent considerations have been imple-
mented, clearly dierentiating between unacceptable actions, minimal
standards and aspirational higher standards, and to provide guidance
on how to achieve standards.
This leads to the challenging question of whether such a code of
conduct should be a voluntary mechanism, which would leave over-
sight to communities, governments, civil society organizations or
academics, or whether the conservation community needs independent
external auditing. Conservation organizations may need systems of
incentives for uptake and rewards for level of implementation for
example, this might take the form of a certication scheme in a similar
manner to corporate social responsibility programs or the IUCN Green
List [119]. Conversely, sanctions for transgressions or lack of eort may
be needed - e.g., published rebukes, prerequisite corrective actions for
future funding disbursements, etc. To hold the conservation community
accountable, institutions and tangible processes may need to be set up -
including methods for monitoring and evaluation, nancing and
capacity for auditing, an independent body to oversee the process
and mechanisms to communicate shortcomings and ensure improve-
ments are made. Indeed, many unresolved questions remain and
numerous operational issues would need to continue to be explored
and resolved in future discussions in support of the development of a
code of conduct. These questions include, for example: How would
practitioners claiming to uphold and abide by the code of conduct be
independently evaluated and veried? What, if any, sanctions could be
levied against proven transgressors of the code? Should funders of
conservation require NGOs to submit independent social audits? Who
will hold independent foundations to account? How might the proposed
objectives, recommendations and principles of the code of conduct be
tested and evaluated under diverse eld conditions in order to improve
accuracy, legitimacy and applicability? Monitoring lessons learned
from implementing early drafts of the code of conduct will also help
to answer these questions.
N.J. Bennett et al. Marine Policy 81 (2017) 411–418
3. An appeal for action
The development and implementation of a code of conduct for
marine conservation is warranted, urgent and past due. In the 21st
century ocean, narratives and realities of scarcity, resource degradation
and climate change may be increasingly used to justify actions that
might not have been deemed socially acceptable under previously
normalcircumstances [120]. When done for the sake of marine
conservation, unacceptable or unlawful actions may undermine legiti-
macy and support and jeopardize the long-term success and eective-
ness of conservation eorts. Given continuing change and uncertainty,
ecological rationales alone will not be enough to guide conservation
actions. Proactive attention to social considerations will pay dividends
and help to avoid costly mistakes for conservation [52]. Both social and
natural sciences will play vital and complementary roles in supporting
the dual priorities of socially responsible and ecologically eective
conservation policies and practice.
Finally, we put forward these ideas and discussion with some
humility, cognizant of the limited representation, and thus experiences
and perspectives, of those present at the workshop and the authorship
team. Yet, there was signicant collective knowledge and experience in
our group and the principles presented in this paper are well grounded
in foundational policy documents and have emerged as lessons learned
from numerous past conservation initiatives. As a result we recommend
that conservation organizations and practitioners proceed with proac-
tive consideration and application of the foundational elements of a
code of conduct that we present here now to dierent contexts - until
such time as a formalized process of development and review has been
completed by a relevant international body and through an inclusive
process. We also emphasize the importance of educating conservation
professionals and organizations about best practices.
In closure, we re-issue the appeal for the development of a
comprehensive and broadly accepted code of conduct to facilitate
marine conservation processes and actions that are fair, just and
accountable, while supporting the achievement of ecological eective-
ness. This will help to achieve a truly sustainable approach to ocean
This project was completed in collaboration with the Nippon
Foundation-Nereus Program ( We also
acknowledge the support of the Social Science and Humanities
Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. The lead author acknowledges
additional support from the Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
(, the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and
aliations with the OceanCanada Partnership (http://oceancanada.
org), the Too Big To Ignore Global Partnership for Small-Scale Fisheries
Research ( and the Community Conservation
Research Network (
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... I expected this to lead scientists to attribute blame for reef degradation to local people, reinforcing colonial ideas that IPLC are incapable of managing local resources. However, I also expected that calls to address inequality in reef conservation and conservation more broadly (Alcorn and Royo, 2007;Büscher et al., 2016;Bennett et al., 2017) might have led to greater recognition of how conservation interventions can inadvertently perpetuate colonial attitudes that harm IPLC and undermine the effectiveness in the more recent Coral-List period (2015)(2016)(2017)(2018)(2019)(2020). Given that conservation efforts are most effective when they recognize and support IPLC leadership and autonomy (Artelle et al., 2019;Hessami et al., 2021), the lingering effects of colonialism on perceptions held by coral reef scientists may undermine conservation. ...
... For example, addressing the harms caused by conservation and research may also require interrogating whether it is appropriate for researchers from the Global North to continue their research in the Global South, especially if such work does not engage with and support IPLC (Baker, Eichhorn and Griffiths, 2019). At the very least, a code of conduct in marine conservation could require researchers to consider how conservation affects people, and might catalyze shifting conservation norms towards more people-centered, just, and equitable approaches (Bennett et al., 2017). ...
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Both local and global stressors threaten coral reefs, putting the food security, cultural continuity, and livelihoods of millions of reef-dependent people at risk. Still, scientists lack an understanding of how climate-driven heat stress interacts with local stressors such as fishing and pollution to influence reef health. Coral reef communities in the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, both low-lying atoll nations in the central Pacific, offer an opportunity to examine these interactions. The Gilbert Islands of Kiribati, which straddle the equator, experience highly variable sea surface temperatures (SSTs) inter-annually due to El Niño / Southern Oscillation, driving coral bleaching events in 2004/2005 and 2009/2010, while the Marshall Islands further north of the equator experience more stable SSTs. Both nations are home to degraded reefs near their capitol atolls, which host over half of each country’s populations. I first analyzed the benthic trajectories of coral reefs in the Gilbert Islands from 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018, across a gradient of local human disturbance after multiple stressors, including two heat stress events and an outbreak of the corallivorous Crown-of-Thorns (CoTs) starfish, finding that locally degraded reefs were more resistant to heat stress than less trafficked reefs because the former were home to hardier taxa. Next, comparing locally disturbed and undisturbed reefs in Kiribati to those in the Marshalls demonstrated that the interactions between local and global stressors were context-dependent; the taxa that were present dictated the interactions. Then, via a meta-analysis of 1,205 sites in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, I demonstrated that a proxy often used to assess the effects of local human disturbance on reef health, the percent cover of macroalgae, does not correlate with local human disturbance. Instead, different genera of macroalgae exhibited diverse and often opposing responses to various sources of local human disturbance. Finally, I used public archives from an email listserv popular among the coral conservation community to analyze the policy narratives used by participants when discussing local threats to reefs, the actors involved in the local threat, their distal drivers, and the proposed solutions, revealing underlying assumptions about reefs and local people, which could inadvertently undermine conservation.
... However, where representation has been facilitated and effectively managed, there is a greater likelihood that those engaged are willing to live with (rather than constantly revisit or undermine) outcomes they perceive as fair and transparent, and respect the needs and preferences of groups who might otherwise not benefit from the research process (Fritsch and Newig 2012;Reed 2018). Such information may deliver important insights about what might need to be changed to ensure an impact pathway actively mitigates negative consequences, especially for marginalised groups, and delivers outcomes that are perceived as beneficial by these groups (e.g., Bennett et al. 2017). ...
... We must also think about the broader enabling environment, and the deeper, less visible, power structures that facilitate or constrain change (Green 2016). Researchers and funders should aim to reflect on the more nuanced and sophisticated ways they may be able to identify, acknowledge, and redistribute power in their work (e.g., Reed et al. 2009;Bennett et al. 2017). Such emancipatory research seeks to facilitate "a politics of the possible by confronting social oppression at whatever levels it occurs" (Oliver 2007: 110). ...
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The world is facing unprecedented challenges on a scale that has never been seen before, and the need for evidence-informed solutions has never been greater. As a result, academics, policy-makers, practitioners, and research funders are increasingly seeking to undertake or support research that achieves tangible impacts on policy and practice. However, the impact of research is inherently subjective, with the same outcome perceived as either beneficial or negative by different groups, or by the same group in different contexts. It is therefore important to consider factors that may increase the likelihood that outcomes from research are perceived as beneficial (or otherwise) by interested/affected groups and non-academic partners, to help researchers avoid causing potentially harmful impacts, despite their best intentions. In this overview article, we discuss three considerations for re-thinking how research can deliver such outcomes: (i) sensitivity to context, (ii) representation and legitimisation of diverse voices and (iii) the management of power dynamics. We then discuss how these can be enacted in research and engagement processes that are designed to incorporate multiple ways of viewing reality and knowledge, as researchers become increasingly aware of their positionality, privilege, assumptions and biases. By considering how research and impact generation processes are mediated by context, power and voice, it may be possible to envision just transformations of knowledge systems that foreground the knowledge and needs of diverse groups, including those who have been historically marginalised, and without systematically recognising or privileging one group over another.
... In many contexts, these non-Western models of MPAs have had a long history of application and effectiveness but have often been lost as a result of top-down and centralized fisheries management and governance regimes ( Johannes 1978( Johannes , 1981McClenachan & Kittinger 2013). Third, international conservation organizations and policies have increasingly recognized the importance of considering local rights and tenure, local participation in planning, governance and management, protection and inclusion of indigenous knowledge and culture, and sharing of benefits through alternative livelihood programs and compensation schemes (Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2004;Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2007;Cattermoul et al. 2008;CBD 2010;Bennett et al. 2017). Moreover, the clear international policy response has been that the benefits of and responsibility for conservation should be shared in a just and equitable manner. ...
... For example, the National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas contains guiding principles which endorse coherency, respect, openness, transparency, and inclusiveness (Government of Canada 2011). In a recently published paper titled "An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation", Bennett et al. (2017) reviewed and proposed a much broader set of principles that ought to guide the creation of MPAs. ...
... However, these collaborative decision-making approaches are not without challenges. In many cases, colonial governments remain reluctant to share authority with Indigenous Peoples or, in instances where co-governance has been established, fail to substantively acknowledge Indigenous rights, knowledge, governance authority, and legal systems (Klain et al. 2014;Simms et al. 2016;Bennett et al. 2017;Curran et al. 2020). For example, in the Yukon Territory in northern Canada, modern land claim and self-government agreements acknowledge Yukon First Nations as an order of government in Canada with jurisdiction over clearly defined territories. ...
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Mismatches between institutions and social–ecological systems (SESs) are one of the foremost challenges in natural resource management. However, while mismatches are often cited in the literature as a major challenge, empirical evidence of mismatches and their consequences is limited. This is particularly true for complex SESs, such as on the Pacific Coast of North America, where salmon drive interactions across multiple environments, jurisdictions, and scales. Here, I use the theoretical concept of fit to examine institutional alignment in a large-scale Pacific salmon SES, the Skeena River watershed in British Columbia, Canada. Utilizing Canadian federal environmental assessments as a proxy for colonial environmental governance institutions, I describe the common causes and consequences of mismatches between institutions and salmon SESs. This case study suggests that mismatches are threatening salmon sustainability and negatively affecting Indigenous People’s rights, livelihoods, and approaches to resource management and stewardship. I argue that improving social–ecological fit in salmon SESs will require new or revitalized forms of environmental governance that consciously fit the underlying social–ecological dynamics. While these findings are based on the Skeena River watershed, they may be generalizable to other salmon SESs in which mismatches between social and ecological processes and institutions exist.
... Before the interview, we read aloud a free, prior, and informed consent to each of the research participants describing their role in this research. Once the interviewees agreed to participate, they signed the consent [39]. To protect the identity of the interviewees, we constructed a five-letter code to anonymize them; for example, "GOVC2" means "interviewee number two from government agency C" [40]. ...
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Whale-watching tourism generates high-income seasonal livelihoods in coastal communities on the Mexican Pacific Coast; however, this sector is at risk from accelerated global changes. We evaluated the responses of a collaboration of tourism networks regarding the impacts COVID-19 using a longitudinal social network approach. We used a two-wave snowball method to identify potential interviewees and followed geographic and jurisdictional criteria using a face-to-face survey to map collaboration ties between 38 stakeholders involved in whale-watching tourism before and after the second wave of the pandemic. We also asked this group of stakeholders about their perceived impacts of COVID-19. We found slightly higher connectivity and centralization levels in the social networks after the pandemic. Loss of income and reservations, a decrease in both conservations and pollution, and an increase in the reduction in wildlife tourism were the main self-reported impacts. We also detected harmful pandemic legacies, such as whale-watching tours conducted using unregulated private boats. This research directly informs Mexico’s whale-watching tourism policy by showing the management and coordination challenges that stakeholders face in a post-pandemic context. While the social fabric of coastal communities has been resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic, we found indications that the governance of marine resources can easily unravel if rule of law is absent.
... With the increasing rate of biodiversity and ecosystem function loss through overfishing, sea-use change, species invasion, pollution, and climate change, 11 the scientific community has called for an upgrade of marine conservation. [12][13][14] Some scientists argue for the need to cover a larger portion (20%-50%) of the ocean with MPAs. [15][16][17] Others, demonstrating that most of the documented benefits of MPA stem from MPAs with no extractive activities, 3,[18][19][20][21][22] highlight the need to distinguish between different levels of protection of MPAs, based on the restrictions they impose. ...
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key conservation tool to meet the objectives of ocean protection policies. Many MPAs fail to be effective because of too weak levels of protection, and some governments aim to increase the coverage of fully and highly protected areas within their waters. However, governments face numerous barriers in translating their commitments into effective conservation measures. Here, we propose a three-step framework to identify the barriers faced when designating and implementing specific levels of protection and to design an action plan to lever these barriers. Using France as a case study, we found that differing stakeholders' perceptions and impaired interaction between stakeholders and decision makers hamper the transition from ambitions to action. We suggest a two-tiered action plan to address these barriers , acting at both deep and shallow leverage points. Enhancing participation and holding decision makers accountable for their commitments while mobilizing financial capital and simplifying governance will facilitate the implementation of effective conservation measures with adequate levels of protection.
... To ensure that conservation is socially supported, it is important to work with local communities and other stakeholders from the outset. Such an approach to conservation must ensure that there are fair governance and decision-making processes that equitably represent all stakeholders and rights-holders, respect cultural heritage, and promote transparency and accountability in conservation processes (Bennett et al., 2017). Successful outcomes require a flexible approach that recognizes that communities possess unique social contexts and are contingent on a project design that is appropriate for the particular local environment (Lundquist and Granek, 2005;Towns, Byrd, et al., 2011). ...
... Furthermore, for-profit conservation models come with risks such as greenwashing and neo-colonialism. All blue carbon stakeholders must operate to high ethical standards, by following proposed codes of conduct that promote fair, just and equitable marine conservation to overcome some of these social barriers [77]. ...
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Natural climate solutions are crucial interventions to help countries and companies achieve their net-zero carbon emissions ambitions. Blue carbon ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses, and tidal marshes have attracted particular attention for their ability to seques-ter and store carbon at densities that can far exceed other ecosystems. The science of blue carbon is now clear, and there is substantial interest from companies and individuals who wish to offset greenhouse gas emissions that they cannot otherwise reduce. We character-ise the rapid recent rise in interest in blue carbon ecosystems from the corporate sector and highlight the huge scale of demand (potentially $10 billion or more) from companies and investors. We discuss why, despite this interest and demand, the supply of blue carbon credits remains small. Several market-related challenges currently limit the implementation of blue carbon projects and the sale of resulting credits, including the cost and burden of verification of blue carbon compared to verifying carbon credits in other ecosystems, the general small scale of current blue carbon projects, and double counting of credits between commercial and national institutions. To overcome these challenges, we discuss other supplementary financial instruments beyond carbon credit trading that may also be viable to fund the conservation and restoration of coastal habitats, such as bonds and ecosystem service insurance. Ultimately, a portfolio of financial instruments will be needed in order to generate funding streams that are substantial and reliable enough to realise the potential of blue carbon ecosystems as a natural climate solution.
... Based on: Bennett et al., 2021;Seddon et al., 2021;Bennett et al., 2018;Bennett et al. 2017;McDermott et al., 2013;Lockwood, 2010. 3.2.2. ...
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This paper explores the spatio‐legal dynamics of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and their relation to socioenvironmental justice. It adopts a critical legal geography perspective to unpack ocean lawscape configurations triggered by territorial claims, the international mechanisms for maritime boundary‐making, and state sovereignty instruments. It is empirically focused on the Seaflower marine biosphere reserve (Seaflower‐BR), a protected area amid a geopolitical contestation between Nicaragua and Colombia in the Southwestern Caribbean. By analyzing its spatio‐legal history over two decades (2000‐2021), the paper sheds light on the marine legalities of this region, which are often contradictory and overlapping. Focusing on the marine lawscape of Colombia, it explores the relationship between protected areas and marine territorialization, also reflecting on the governance regimes' effects on indigenous livelihoods and marine biodiversity. The paper draws a threefold conclusion, namely i) marine protected areas are regularly being disrupted, re‐bordered and reconfigured by the international ocean regimes governing the oceans; ii) the link between the creation and management of marine protected areas and territorial jurisdiction compromises social and environmental justice, and iii) inclusion of indigenous legalities might enhance equity and sustainability in ocean governance.
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Although focused on aiding managers, these Guidelines are for anyone involved in supporting Large scale MPAs (LSMPAs) or the communities that hold an interest in them. It is hoped these Guidelines will also assist new LSMPAs from the earliest design phase, and enhance the management of existing LSMPAs from planning and implementation through ongoing evaluation. Ultimately, the goal is to increase the effectiveness of LSMPAs so that they contribute to global conservation targets in ways that truly benefit humanity.
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used globally to conserve marine resources. However, whether many MPAs are being effectively and equitably managed, and how MPA management influences substantive outcomes remain unknown. We developed a global database of management and fish population data (433 and 218 MPAs, respectively) to assess: MPA management processes; the effects of MPAs on fish populations; and relationships between management processes and ecological effects. Here we report that many MPAs failed to meet thresholds for effective and equitable management processes, with widespread shortfalls in staff and financial resources. Although 71% of MPAs positively influenced fish populations, these conservation impacts were highly variable. Staff and budget capacity were the strongest predictors of conservation impact: MPAs with adequate staff capacity had ecological effects 2.9 times greater than MPAs with inadequate capacity. Thus, continued global expansion of MPAs without adequate investment in human and financial capacity is likely to lead to sub-optimal conservation outcomes.
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There have been numerous calls to ensure that protected areas are governed and managed in an equitable manner. While there has been progress on assessing management effectiveness, there has been less headway on defining the equitable part of the equation. Here we propose a framework for advancing equity in the context of protected area conservation that was developed through a process of expert workshops and consultation and then validated at three sites in East Africa. The framework comprises three key dimensions (recognition, procedure and distribution) and 16 principles embedded in a set of enabling conditions, which we illustrate with reference to case studies. We go on to present the case for shifting the framing of protected area conservation from a livelihoods framing to an equity framing, justifying this from both a moral (normative) and instrumental perspective. Finally, we show how equity relates to a number of other key concepts (management effectiveness, governance and social impact) and related assessment tools in protected area conservation, before outlining a step-wise process for using the framework to advance equity in protected area conservation.
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It has long been claimed that a better understanding of human or social dimensions of environmental issues will improve conservation. The social sciences are one important means through which researchers and practitioners can attain that better understanding. Yet, a lack of awareness of the scope and uncertainty about the purpose of the conservation social sciences impedes the conservation community's effective engagement with the human dimensions. This paper examines the scope and purpose of eighteen subfields of classic, interdisciplinary and applied conservation social sciences and articulates ten distinct contributions that the social sciences can make to understanding and improving conservation. In brief, the conservation social sciences can be valuable to conservation for descriptive, diagnostic, disruptive, reflexive, generative, innovative, or instrumental reasons. This review and supporting materials provides a succinct yet comprehensive reference for conservation scientists and practitioners. We contend that the social sciences can help facilitate conservation policies, actions and outcomes that are more legitimate, salient, robust and effective.
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If efforts to conserve endangered species lack long-term visions and neglect the human dimensions, conservation success will be questionable. Exclusion of stakeholders in decisions can lead to mistrust and polarization of groups. The story of the vaquita marina (Phocoena sinus) in the Upper Gulf of Califor-nia provides a unique opportunity to discuss this paradigm. A proposed gear-switch in the local fisheries addresses the bycatch that threatens the vaquita but neglects local livelihoods, the traditions and heritage of the community, the ecological integrity of the area and increases dependence on fishing subsidies. We estimate it will cost an additional US $8.5 million (2/3 of the net revenue produced by gillnets and 30% more in fuel consumption) if local revenues are to be maintained at pre-gear-switch levels. In addition, suggested new trawl gears caught 2.7 times more unusable (therefore discarded) bycatch than gillnets, which included invertebrates and small juvenile fishes of economically valuable species. Our results show that the proposed gear switch intervention can be considered another " quick-fix " intervention in the history of the vaquita conservation agenda that urgently needs long-term goals that incorporate ecological, economic, and human wellbeing.
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With the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) growing rapidly and progress being made towards protecting 10% of the ocean, as called for by the Convention on Biological Diversity, there is equally a need to increase efforts and provide incentives for effective management of these sites. The IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas (GLPCA), a voluntary global standard that protected areas and their agencies may decide to commit to working towards, has been set up to contribute to this. Protected areas can achieve Green List status by demonstrating a certain performance level and by meeting outcomes measured against a set of defined criteria. An assured verification process is followed before sites are recognized. The GLPCA will thus encourage and identify those protected areas (both terrestrial and marine) that are effectively managed, have equitable governance and achieve significant conservation impacts. The GLPCA pilot phase announced the first 25 protected areas to meet the criteria at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney in November 2014. These included four MPAs: Iroise Natural Marine Park, Cerbère-Banyuls Natural Nature Reserve, and Guadeloupe National Park in France, and Gorgona National Park in Colombia. Italy and China also participated in the pilot phase and each has an MPA that is continuing to work towards GLPCA status. The experiences of these sites are described, as well as three other programmes (two regional and one global) that are being developed to promote improved management of MPAs. This information will be useful for other MPAs considering participation in the GLPCA initiative. Copyright
This book provides a contemporary overview of the world’s oceans. It identifies and describes the various problems which continue to threaten environmental quality and biodiversity, ranging from overfishing to the complex changes which could take place as a result of global climate change. Written by scientists working at the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter in the UK, it is based upon the latest published scientific information. It draws upon the considerable and unique experience of Greenpeace as an organisation working on a diverse array of marine conservation issues at the international scale. The book is designed to serve a wide readership, both as a source of reliable information and as an introduction to the wide literature which exists on marine conservation issues. It is designed to be accessible by those pursuing academic studies as well as those with a more general interest in the factors which are shaping our oceans. As well as identifying the many problems, the book also outlines the ways in which the foundations and building blocks for clean, healthy and biodiverse seas can be provided, especially through the development of a global network of marine reserves.
Large-scale marine protected areas (LSMPAs) are rapidly increasing. Due to their sheer size, complex socio-political realities, and distinct local cultural perspectives and economic needs, implementing and managing LSMPAs successfully creates a number of human dimensions challenges. It is timely and important to explore the human dimensions of LSMPAs. This paper draws on the results of a global " Think Tank on the Human Dimensions of Large Scale Marine Protected Areas " involving 125 people from 17 countries, including representatives from government agencies, non-governmental organizations, academia, professionals, industry, cultural/indigenous leaders and LSMPA site managers. The overarching goal of this effort was to be proactive in understanding the issues and developing best management practices and a research agenda that address the human dimensions of LSMPAs. Identified best management practices for the human dimensions of LSMPAs included: integration of culture and traditions, effective public and stakeholder engagement, maintenance of livelihoods and wellbeing, promotion of economic sustainability, conflict management and resolution, transparency and matching institutions, legitimate and appropriate governance, and social justice and empowerment. A shared human dimensions research agenda was developed that included priority topics under the themes of scoping human dimensions, governance, politics, social and economic outcomes, and culture and tradition. The authors discuss future directions in researching and incorporating human dimensions into LSMPAs design and management, reflect on this global effort to co-produce knowledge and reorient practice on the human dimensions of LSMPAs, and invite others to join a nascent community of practice on the human dimensions of large-scale marine conservation.