What will the MPA achieve?

The MPA Objectives

Cross Hill - Matt Wall
Cross Hill - Matt Wall

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Translating the vision for the MPA into practical action requires a couple of steps in between where we define in increasing detail what we want the MPA to achieve. These steps are the strategic and operational objectives.

What Will the MPA Achieve

Scrawled filefish - Jude Brown

The strategic and operational objectives provide a clear chain of thought that links the overall vision for the MPA through to practical management actions. Flowing back in the opposite direction, it is possible to trace all the actions we do back through the objectives they deliver to understand how they contribute to the overall vision.


Provides the overall ambition for the MPA.

Strategic objectives

Capture the values and intention of the MPA and are designed to last 20-25 years.

Operational objectives

Breakdown the strategic objectives into a number of specific, clearly-defined aims against which progress can be measured using the metric identified. They will be reviewed every five years, but are designed to last at least 10-20 years.

Management actions

Activities that will be undertaken to achieve the operational objectives. Each action is associated with a target we can measure and a single management action can contribute to more than one operational objective.

Strategic objectives

This goes to the fundamental purpose of the MPA. Ascension has a wealth of marine life and we aim to ensure it is protected and thrives for generations to come.

Operational objectives:

1a. No loss of species and no reduction in species abundance or ecosystem complexity in offshore areas

1b. Proxy objective: Surveillance, compliance and enforcement regime effectively detects all known threats to offshore ecosystems

1c. No loss of species and no reduction of species abundance or ecosystem complexity in inshore areas

1d Proxy objective: Monitoring, regulation and management regime effectively tackles all known threats to inshore ecosystems

1e. Maintain the size distribution and age at maturity of species in inshore areas

1f. No loss of genetically distinct sub-populations from inshore or offshore areas

1g. No reduction in the extent or condition of key habitats

The marine environment is fundamental to the identity of the island and one of Ascension’s greatest assets. We want the island community to realise its health, welfare and economic benefits in ways that don’t compromise the prosperity and enjoyment of future generations

Operational objectives:

2a. People living on Ascension have access to recreational and fishing opportunities in the MPA that are equitably shared and enjoyed by the community

2b. Fishing pressure in inshore areas is adaptively managed by local stakeholders to prevent it from contributing to the decline of any stock

2c. Ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related species are maintained in inshore areas

2d. Ascension is recognised as a world leader in the responsible management of sports fishing and ecotourism; these activities have no negative impact on the behaviour or population size of protected species

2e. A significant proportion of revenue from sports fishing, ecotourism and other economic activities in the MPA is retained on the island

2f. Future developments are assessed and designed to be compatible with the conservation objectives of the MPA

Ascension’s marine environment is globally important and we want to share this resource with researchers and the public to increase understanding and appreciation of the world’s oceans.

Operational objectives

3a. The Ascension Island MPA becomes a world-renowned site for the scientific study of marine ecosystems

3b. Ascension becomes an active and influential member of international networks of MPA managers, and initiates and participates in collaborative projects

3c. Every person on Ascension is aware of the MPA and its purpose

3d. The Ascension MPA and the conservation and scientific work being undertaken reaches a global audience leading to increased political and financial support

The potential benefits of the MPA to biodiversity, the people of Ascension and the wider global community will only be achieved if it is well-managed with the resources and oversight required.

Operational objectives

4a. The legal and operational framework for the MPA (primary and secondary legislation, regulations, management plan) is fit-for-purpose and enforcement action is effective

4b. Management actions are designed to deliver the MPA objectives, based on the best available information and subject to regular monitoring and review

4c. The Ascension Island community is effectively engaged in MPA governance structures and the benefits and impacts of management decisions are equitably shared

4d. Human and financial resources are secured to deliver effective management