The effectiveness of sectoral integration between marine protected area and fisheries agencies: an Australian case study
In order to manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) effectively, cooperative coordination arrangements between MPA and fisheries agencies are essential, but are recognised as very difficult to achieve. Barriers to, and benefits of, developing partnerships between these agencies have been reviewed and a comprehensive list of 46 specific performance indicators to evaluate MPA and fisheries agency partnership effectiveness has been compiled. These indicators have been linked to the USAID Policy and Coordination Program's partnership assessment framework that applies three evaluation domains, namely: strategic values and capacity to implement, operational processes and resultant impact of a partnership. In a case study designed to test the methodology, the IUCN MPA assessment guidelines and these performance indicators were used as the basis for an evaluation of the effectiveness of an Australian MPA and fisheries inter-agency partnership. This provided a rapid, qualitative evaluation methodology, which indicated that the partnership investigated had resulted in positive impacts in respect to MPA management objectives. However, the evaluation process also identified areas that could be improved, particularly in respect to the agencies' shared values and operational processes. For example, community and stakeholder communication and engagement is an important objective in MPA management, which needs mutual support from both agencies, but this activity scored lowly in the evaluation. As a result, it was recommended that MPA and fisheries agencies should develop formal agreements, such as Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), and that these agreements should include shared objectives and targets, incentives for both agencies, co-ordinated communication processes and a risk management strategy.