Marine protected areas are only useful management tools if they are actually protected. PIMPAC and its partners recognize that effective enforcement of MPA's is a critical component to improving management. This is a new area that PIMPAC has just recently began investing in and the first Micronesian MPA Compliance and Enforcement Workshop is being held in Palau March 28-April 2.
The focus of the first workshop will be:
1) Sharing how others Micronesia and the wider Pacific approach compliance and enforcement activities, along with common success and challenges;
2) Learning or refreshing important compliance and enforcement skills and approaches, and;
3) Developing site plans and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for specific locations in order to achieve compliance and enforcement goals.
Over the period of the Palau workshop, participants will have the opportunity to share experiences and lessons in enforcing conservation rules and regulations in their respective areas.Successes and particular challenges will be highlighted and discussed, along with potential solutions/strategies that applied at local sites.To enhance the skills of conservation officers, a basic course in “Marine Law Enforcement 101” will be offered by professional marine law enforcement officers from the Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR) Law Enforcement Section.Additionally, principles and exercises in marine safety and survival for conservation officers will be taught.
During the conclusion of the workshop, participants will be provided the opportunity to begin or review existing elements of a Compliance and Enforcement Plan for a site or program in their home jurisdiction.These draft or revised plans will highlight specific compliance and enforcement goals, as well as identify particulars that are important to the successful enforcement of and adherence to conservation rules in the area.Feedback on these plans will be provided by other workshop participants and trainers. It is expected that an additional output of the workshop will be the initiation of a general Conservation Officer Training Curriculum that can be customized to address the needs and particulars of various jurisdictions. How to monitor compliance and enforcement success over time will also be discussed and recommendations shared.
The training workshop will be held at the Palau International Coral Reef Center, with lodging available nearby. Workshop activities will be held indoors, on the Center grounds, and in various locations on and in the water.Field activities will involve visits to existing MPA sites and participate with active marine conservation and enforcement activities.Workshop sponsors and/or supporters at this time include various National Agencies and State Governments in Palau, the Belau LMMA Network, PIMPAC, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.