Offshore marine parks are not as widely understood as terrestrial protected areas; however, people depend on the marine environment to support livelihoods, recreation, and cultural connections as well as the provision of ecosystem services. It is important to improve our understanding of this space and explore the threats to these environments as well as opportunities emerging from them.
We recently delivered a series of Conservation Standards workshops to Parks Australia staff that involved adapting the Conservation Standards language and framework to work in the Australian Marine Parks (AMPs) context.
The process of re-framing the Conservation Standards to this context was a reminder of how adaptable this approach truly is. The Conservation Standards can be used directly to better establish, monitor, and deliver outcomes and has been recognised as a highly useful approach in land and sea management.
Parks Australia is developing a comprehensive Management Effectiveness Framework (MEF); however, they recognise that there are other tools in use elsewhere worth considering and exploring. The Conservation Standards is highly regarded and was originally developed for use in the marine space. This approach has not been used widely in this context in Australia by government previously although Parks Australia have recognised that the Conservation Standards aligns well with the MEF, projects delivered through the National Environment Science Program (NESP), and the aims of research scientists who are working to implement a more robust system.
The Parks Australia staff have been doing a few workshops with us at Conservation Management focusing on how we can adapt the Conservation Standards to use in their workplace as an additional tool. During the training participants focused on the ways this approach works and how they can apply it to their own examples. The AMP terminology was mapped to Conservation Standards language which provided a way for the participants to easily see how the management framework can relate to their work and their plans. Two rounds of training of three days were delivered with groups of 10 Parks Australia staff from places like Christmas Island. Parks Australia will continue to use their own processes but found that the Conservation Standards steps will help in some areas.
Delivering this training was a reminder of how the Conservation Standards can be adapted to different contexts. We look forward to seeing how Parks Australia utilises this approach in the future and takes the learnings from this training and applies them to the marine space.