O'Leary's program for linking science to active management of Marine Protected Areas adopted in Tanzania
Editor's Note: The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation helped fund Jennifer O'Leary's early work with the Kenya Wildlife Service through a Leadership Grant. You can read more about this project in our Featured Fellow piece, "Translating Science Into Action: the Mombasa Marine Park, Kenya."
The program we are running started as a pilot program in Kenya with a single Marine Protected Area (MPA), supported by a Switzer Leadership Grant. The program goal is to link science to management decision making. We have developed a basic framework to make this work where MPA managers define clear, measurable objectives and then we help them figure out what types of indicators would be best to monitor and at what point management action should be taken.
The pilot program has been up and running since 2010 with great success. As a result, we have multitudes of MPAs asking for training in the technique we have developed. The national government of Kenya has now endorsed the program as how MPAs must be managed. We (Tuda and I) recently got a $500,000 grant to expand the program nation-wide in Kenya and start a pilot in Tanzania. We are holding a major training for other Kenyan MPAs and one Tanzanian MPA in November. However, when we presented the program to the Tanzanian government, they wanted to start it in all their MPAs immediately. We are urging everybody to take it slow and focus first on objectives.
We just applied for funding to suport a region-wide training for MPA managers and national leaders from all countries in the Western Indian Ocean (South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, ...)
See a post on Jennifer's blog