Perspective: Key lessons learned on public participation from the process to rezone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

By Jon Day

The Representative Areas Program (RAP), which rezoned the entire Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in a single planning initiative, was at the time the most comprehensive process of community involvement and participatory planning for any environmental issue in Australia. The outcome was that one-third of the Marine Park was declared as highly protected no-take zones in 2004, with the remainder of the park also zoned to provide various levels of protection.

Many of the lessons learned from RAP remain relevant today. The following 25 lessons are excerpted from a paper published in Coastal Management journal in December 2017, “Effective public participation is fundamental for marine conservation – lessons from a large scale MPA”. The paper is available for free here. More detail on each of the lessons is in the paper.

Blue Solution: Applying studies of larval connectivity to support MPA planning and governance

By Rene A. Abesamis, Silliman University – Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management

Knowing how far the larvae of fish species disperse can be invaluable to designing effective networks of MPAs. But in a developing nation like the Philippines, where over 1000 community-managed MPAs have been established over the past two decades, such science is often not available, particularly at the community level. So planners have often made educated guesses when planning their MPAs, based on traditional knowledge and what science could be accessed.