Planning MPAs and creating stable agreements: Lessons learned from California’s Marine Life Protection Act process
By Scott McCreary
MPA planning takes many forms. Some are highly technocratic and depend on command-and-control regulation to be implemented. Others are more "stakeholder-driven" but depend on an ultimate decision-making authority. Still others could be fully consensus-seeking.
Emerging practice suggests that MPAs should be planned in consultation with the full range of affected stakeholders in a region. But exactly how should that consultative planning process be structured and how can it be most successful? This article argues that without proper process design, the outcomes that result from such planning are not always stable.