Structural requirements necessary for the implementation of a successful Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Ross Sea and associated management issues
The Ross Sea is an ecologically important area, providing habitat to a unique range of species assemblages which are endemic to the region. The area is not only a major marine ecosystem, but also one of the world’s most pristine and least affected continental shelf/slopes on the planet, hence conservation of the Ross Sea is of high importance. In December 2017, the establishment of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) was recognised to protect and conserve the ecosystem. A review of the existing management plan, the Conservation Measure 91-05, and provisions for the Ross Sea (MPA) was conducted. Structural requirements necessary for a successful MPA was researched, looking at other MPAs and their approach, management plans and success. What defines a ‘successful’ MPA was reviewed, aimed to provide scientific basis and a ‘checklist’ approach to evaluate the effectiveness of the Ross Sea MPA. This included current monitoring recommendations, and further suggestions for management. Research included looking at proposed methods for obtaining ongoing monitoring data (such as the toothfish tagging programme, catches reported) and how these results will be used and contributed to the ongoing support of the MPA. Further research will include looking at other MPAs in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean and what monitoring programs have been implemented.