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Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (2011) 687e695 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Ocean & Coastal Management journal homepage: Stakeholders’ expectations towards a proposed marine protected area: A multi-criteria analysis of MPA performance criteria Nadine Heck a, *, Philip Dearden b,1, Adrian McDonald c, 2 a University of Leeds, School of Geography, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK University of Victoria, Department of Geography, PO Box 3060 STN CSC, Victoria, BC, V8W 3R4, Canada c University of Leeds, School of Geography, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK b a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t Article history: Available online 22 July 2011 In order to enable effective management of marine protected areas (MPAs), desired MPA achievements need to be identified as early as possible for the development of relevant and clear management goals, objectives and conservation targets. As the definition of MPA success is a social construct, the involvement of multiple groups in this process including government agencies, stakeholders, and other interested parties is increasingly advocated. This study investigates diverse groups’ opinions on the performance of a proposed National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) on the West coast of Canada prior to its establishment. In order to analyse and quantify the importance of MPA performance criteria among multiple stakeholder groups, the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is applied. Findings reveal that marine stakeholder groups have distinct preferences for future MPA performance. Most differences are obvious between user and non-user groups. The study also finds that respondents’ characteristics other than stakeholder groups affiliations influence expectations towards the proposed MPA including livelihood dependency on the marine environment, amount of time spent in the area, and engagement in fishing activities. Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly established worldwide as one of several available tools for the management of coastal and ocean areas (Toropova et al., 2010). As management objectives for any MPA depend on the specific ecological, cultural or socioeconomic problems that an MPA is meant to improve, MPAs vary greatly in purpose, type, size and shape and the concept cannot be generalized (Agardy et al., 2003). When designing a new MPA, the local context thus needs to be well understood and taken into consideration in the development of relevant MPA goals and objectives (Wells and Mangubhai, 2005; Alder et al., 2002). In addition, clear statements need to be developed, ideally in the early planning stage, indicating what a new MPA is supposed to achieve and how its effectiveness will be demonstrated over time (Day, 2008). Identifying desired MPA performance in the beginning of the planning process increases the chance that established MPAs * Corresponding author. Tel.: þ44 1133433312. E-mail addresses: (N. Heck), (P. Dearden), (A. McDonald). 1 Tel.: þ1 250 721 7335. 2 Tel.: þ44 113 34 33344. 0964-5691/$ e see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2011.07.003 will not just become so called ‘paper parks’ (Thompson et al., 2008). Early definition of desired MPA performance also allows collection of baseline data that can be used for measuring the ‘real’ performance of a protected area, defined as the difference between the initial state and the achieved outcomes due to the establishment of a new MPA (Day, 2008). As any MPA is based on a set of human-made rules and regulations (Pomeroy et al., 2007), the definition of desired MPA performance is also inherently a social construct (Himes, 2007b; Hockings, 2006). Expectations towards MPA management often differ among coastal user groups depending on their background, values, and affiliation (Himes, 2007b). Desired MPA performance thus should ideally be set by a combination of government agencies and local stakeholders (Syms and Carr, 2001; Dahl-Tacconi, 2005; Himes, 2007b). Stakeholder involvement in the early stages of the planning process is particularly useful in order to understand concerns towards the establishment of a MPA (Salz and Loomis, 2004). Stakeholder inclusion further provides insights into local issues that need to be addressed by a new MPA (Charles and Wilson, 2008), signifies social acceptability and support for a future MPA (Thomassin et al., 2010), and increases the likelihood that policy decisions are based upon accurate understanding of the local social and environmental condition (Pomeroy et al., 2007). 688 N. Heck et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (2011) 687e695 While the importance of stakeholder involvement in MPA management is recorded in a growing body of literature (Borad and Sanchirico, 2008; Elliott et al., 2001; Pollnac et al., 2001), literature on stakeholders’ opinions on MPA performance in existing MPAs (Himes, 2007b; Webb et al., 2004; Suman et al., 1999), and their involvement in the development of MPA performance indicators (Dahl-Tacconi, 2005; Pajaro et al., 2010) is still limited, and particularly scarce with respect to proposed MPAs (Thomassin et al., 2010; Salz and Loomis, 2004). Using a case study approach, this study focuses on local opinions on MPA performance prior to the establishment of a new MPA. In order to quantify the importance given to a number of MPA performance criteria among diverse groups, the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) was applied. The method was developed by Saaty (1980) and is one of several multi-criteria decision making techniques (Kiker et al., 2005). The approach is seen as particularly useful for examining tradeoffs in situations when multiple management objectives cannot be optimised simultaneously (Mardle et al., 2004), which is often the case in MPA management (Wattage and Mardle, 2006). So far, the AHP has been applied for different aspects of fisheries management (eg Innes and Pascoe, 2010; Leung et al., 1998; Mardle et al., 2004; Mardle and Pascoe, 1999), social acceptance of aquaculture (Whitmarsh and Palmieri, 2009) and stakeholder preferences for conservation versus development of wetlands (Wattage and Mardle, 2005). Its application for MPA management, however, is very limited. Previous studies applied the framework for identifying management options (Fernandes et al., 1999), performance criteria for existing MPAs (Fernandes et al., 1999; Himes, 2007a) and to identify MPA zoning options (Villa et al., 2002). A novelty in this study is the application of the AHP for eliciting the importance of MPA performance criteria for a new MPA prior to its establishment. Results provide information for the development of goals and objectives for the proposed MPA based on local stakeholders’ expectations. By comparing the opinions of multiple groups, the study also increases the current understanding of diverse marine stakeholders’ expectations towards MPA management. In addition, the study investigates how far characteristics such as livelihood dependency, amount of time spent in the area, and engagement in fishing activities influence local expectations towards MPA performance. 2. Study site The Southern Strait of Georgia (SSG) is located on the Southwest coast of British Columbia, between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland (Fig.1). In 2003, a National Park Reserve was established in the Gulf Islands protecting approximately 35 km2 terrestrial land spread out over 16 islands, and about 26 km2 fragmented near-shore areas (Parks Canada, 2010). In order to provide more comprehensive marine protection, the establishment of a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) is proposed covering the waters surrounding the Southern Gulf Islands encompassing about 900 km2. The marine environment in the area is rated as one of the world’s most diverse temperate water regions (Davenne and Masson, 2001; Parks Canada, 2009a). Natural features include rocky reefs, and there are over 200 species of fish, hundreds of seabirds, about 500 species of plant life, and approximately 1500 species of invertebrates (Georgia Strait Alliance, 2008). Resident marine mammals in the SSG include seals, otters, sea lions, killer whales, and porpoises. Gray, mink and humpback whales migrate through the area (Parks Canada, 2009a; Georgia Strait Alliance, 2008). The area also provides habitats for multiple species at risk such as northern abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana), great blue heron (Ardea herodias fannini), and a population of southern resident orcas (Orcinus orca), that have declined an approximate 20% over the last decade (Georgia Strait Alliance, 2008). Due to its close proximity to several large population centres including Vancouver, Victoria, and across the US border Washington State, the SSG is one of the most heavily used waterways in Canada. Regular ferry services exist in the area, and major shipping lanes run just outside of the boundaries of the proposed NMCA. Other commercial activities include fishing and crabbing, which operate throughout the year, shellfish aquaculture, and a large number of commercial whale watching vessels that are operating in the area especially during the summer months. The region is also extremely popular for a variety of marine-based recreation activities such as recreational fishing, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and power cruising (Gray, 2008). The proposed NMCA in Southern Strait of Georgia is one of five identified future NMCA areas in British Columbia that will be part of a NMCA system (Parks Canada, 2003). While Parks is responsible for establishing and managing the proposed NMCA, the agency will need to collaborate with a number of federal and provincial agencies such as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment Canada, and the provincial government due to overlapping jurisdictions (Gagne, 2000). NMCAs are therefore different to terrestrial parks, as several agencies will have jurisdictions within these conservation areas (Dearden and Mitchell, 2005) thereby increasing the need for interagency collaboration. 3. Methodology 3.1. Developing the AHP hierarchy The Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is based on converting subjective assessments of relative importance to a set of overall scores or weights (Dodgson et al., 2009) and is applicable to qualitative and/or quantitative attributes (Ananda and Herath, 2003). The method is based on structuring a problem in a hierarchical form and eliciting judgements for individual criteria in the form of pair-wise comparisons using a nine-point scale (Munda, 2008). This approach simplifies multi-dimensional scaling problems into one-dimensional ones (Saaty and Vargas, 2000) as it reduces decision-making to pair-wise comparisons (Himes, 2007a). Weights are always derived in the form of trade-offs, not of importance of coefficients (Munda, 2008). As all objectives together sum up to 1 or 100%, the AHP reveals preferences that individuals hold for one objective relative to another, making the nature of the trade-off between the different objectives transparent (Whitmarsh and Wattage 2006) The AHP, however, does not allow including a high number of criteria, which would require a very high number of comparisons and thus heavily depends on the structure of the decision problem (Ananda and Herath, 2003). The methodology is based on several stages including (1) the development of an objective hierarchy, (2) a pairwise comparison survey to elicit individual’s preferences towards objectives, (3) the analysis of the results, and (4) the aggregation of homogeneous sets of preferences for evaluating alternative management strategies (Wattage and Mardle, 2006; Innes and Pascoe, 2010). Performance criteria for the proposed NMCA in this study were developed based on information provided in workshops and open houses that were undertaken by Parks Canada as part of the feasibility study in the Southern Strait of Georgia. This study aimed on determining whether the establishment of the proposed NMCA is practical and desirable, both from a policy and administrative perspective as well as in terms of public support (Parks Canada, 2009a). Among the aims of the study was the identification of future NMCA goals and objectives based on a common local vision, and the identification of marine research and monitoring N. Heck et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (2011) 687e695 689 Fig. 1. Location of proposed National Marine Conservation Area. requirements for long-term achievement of these goals and objectives (Parks Canada, 2009a). In order to elicit the local vision for the NMCA, participants in workshop events were asked how they would like to describe the area in 25 years from now. For the purpose of this study, the most frequently mentioned environmental, social, economic, and management criteria were included and structured in a hierarchy (Fig. 2). 3.2. Survey In order to elicit the importance given to future MPA performance criteria, a questionnaire-based survey was undertaken. The survey was administered during a five months period between 2nd July- 6th December 2009. Seven groups participated in the study including two commercial user groups, marine tourism operators and commercial fishermen, two recreational user groups, boaters and recreational fishers, the main governing agency, Parks Canada, NGO members, and local governments. These groups were chosen since they also took part in workshops and open-houses for the proposed NMCA. Since MPA criteria in this study are based on information derived from these events, similar groups were included in the survey for better comparison. Due to small numbers, a census sampling was attempted for wildlife tourism operators, Parks Canada staff, Island Trust members (local government) and NGOs. Commercial fishermen, recreational boaters and recreational fishermen were approached randomly at regional marinas and harbours during the five months period. The questionnaire was primarily administered face-to-face. Tourism operators, park managers, and NGO members were approached at their place of work. Recreational boaters and recreational fishermen were sampled in 6 marinas in or adjacent to the proposed NMCA. Commercial fishermen were approached in 7 690 N. Heck et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (2011) 687e695 Fig. 2. MPA criteria hierarchy for the proposed NMCA. commercial fishing harbours in the area. For NGOs, local government members belonging to the Island Trust and Parks Canada staff, the questionnaire was also distributed via mail and as an email attachment, which was then mailed back by respondents. Response rates were high with 88% for the face-to-face approach, 88.9% for mail and 100% for e-mail. Out of 186 distributed questionnaires, a total of 161 questionnaires were completed including 32 tourism operators, 11 managers, 30 recreational boaters, 40 recreational fishermen, 20 commercial fishermen, 17 NGO members and 11 local government members. The self-administered questionnaire contained a closed question asking about the importance of a set of performance criteria on a 9-point AHP scale. Pairwise comparisons were made between the four main criteria categories, environmental, social, economic, and management, and between criteria under each ‘parental’ criterion (Fig. 3). This approach was chosen to limit comparison choices and increase consistency ratios. In total, 31 pairwise comparisons were included using the 9-point scale. The scale is defined as follows: (1) indifferent, (3) weak preference or moderately important, (5) preference or more important, (7) strong preferences or strongly important, (9) very strong preferences or extremely more important (Mardle et al., 2004). The next section of the questionnaire covered closed questions about personal information including stakeholder group affiliation, livelihood dependency on the marine environment in the proposed NMCA area, age, familiarity with the marine environment, the amount of time spent in proposed NMCA area, place of residency and fishing activities undertaken in the proposed conservation area. An open-ended question for comments was provided at the end. Data analysis was undertaken with Expert Choice 11.5. Due to the nature of pair-wise comparison, a certain degree of inconsistency in respondents’ choices is expected in the relative scale of importance between objectives, their rank or both (Innes and Pascoe, 2010). Usually, a consistency ratio of up to 10% or 20% is accepted (Mardle and Pascoe, 1999; Leung et al., 1998; Mardle et al., 2004; Innes and Pascoe, 2010; Wattage and Mardle, 2005). Otherwise a re-examination of judgements should be done. For the purpose of this study, a consistency index of up to 15% was accepted. Based on this criterion, 110 out of 161 returned questionnaires (68.3%) were included in the subsequent analysis. Group weights were derived based on the arithmetic mean of individual weights within each group (Innes and Pascoe, 2010). Differences in mean importance weights derived from the AHP were analysed using ANOVA. Spearman rank correlation was applied to N. Heck et al. / Ocean & Coastal Management 54 (2011) 687e695 691 Fig. 3. Example of pairwise comparison. investigate the influence of stakeholders’ livelihood dependency on the marine environment in the proposed NMCA area, the amount of time spent in the area during the year, and engagement in fishing activities on the importance given to NMCA criteria. 4. Results 4.1. Local expectations towards proposed NMCA The results of the AHP analysis indicate that the proposed NMCA should mainly achieve environmental improvements in the SSG. Social enjoyment and education, local economic benefits, and management efficiency were given significantly lower importance weights (Fig. 4). The analysis of criteria in subcategories provided slightly different results compared to findings in the main category and highlighted the additional importance of local economic benefits (Fig. 5). Greater importance was given to local income from tourism within the NMCA than to income for local fisheries, which was also less important than an increase in fish resources in the area. Comments suggested to ‘promote tourism as an alternative economic driver to traditional fishing industries’. These findings suggest a focus on non-extractive use within the NMCA and to facilitate a shift in local economies towards less extractive businesses. Among environmental criteria, habitat protection, less pollution, and an increase in marine mammals seem most important. Comments clarify that pollution from a range of sources need to be reduced such as recreational and commercial vessels, local industries, and sewage disposal from nearby towns. Among marine mammals, an increase of orcas was pointed out in comments. The analysis further shows that all management criteria were given low Fig. 4. Aggregated importance of MPA performance criteria (1st level). weights, especially stakeholders’ inclusion. Only fishery regulations and enforcement of future regulations was given some importance, even though the NMCA Act does not focus on fishery management and enforcement coverage in particular. Comments clarified that commercial fishermen were most concerned with enforcement of fishery regulations. Recreational fishermen and tourism operators stressed the importance of enforcing whale watching operators in order to minimize disturbances of whales. 4.2. Differences in expected MPA performance based on stakeholder group affiliation Differences in local expectations towards the NMCA were obvious based on stakeholder group affiliation. While all groups judged environmental improvements as most important, their impo…

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