Facilitating Research in
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary:
Summary of the 2010 Workshop to Inform the
Ecosystem-based Management Initiative
Authors:Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) has embarked upon a new initiative
to improve ecosystem-based management (EBM) in the sanctuary by applying best
available science and integrating and coordinating with partner agencies and
stakeholders. The EBM Initiative has four primary goals:
Jennifer Brown, Paul Michel, Sophie De Beukelaer, Andrew DeVogelaere, Rikki Dunsmore, Steve Lonhart, Lisa Wooninck
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
By working collaboratively with partner agencies and stakeholders, information related to
these four goals has been and will continue to be gathered and evaluated to identify and
implement actions to improve ecosystem-based management in the sanctuary.
- Maintain and/or restore marine ecosystem health, services and function;
- Ensure protection of unique and rare features;
- Facilitate research to differentiate between natural variation and human impacts;
- Facilitate ecologically and economically sustainable uses, including fisheries.
To address the EBM Initiative goal of facilitating research, MBNMS staff convened a
workshop on October 26th, 2010. The purpose of this workshop was to review existing
spatial management, determine how it affects marine science, and discuss what kinds of
strategies, if any, could facilitate science that supports ecosystem-based management of
MBNMS. For this workshop, existing spatial management was discussed primarily in the
context of marine regulated areas. The workshop was attended by 23 members of the
regional research community, three fishermen who are collaborative vessel operators
during research cruises, three members of the MBNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council's
Ecosystem-based Management Subcommittee, four members of the public and 14
sanctuary program staff.
In preparation for the workshop, MBNMS staff requested invited members of the
regional research community to answer a brief on-line questionnaire. Twenty-two
responses were received. Staff compiled this information and used it to better understand
how marine regulated areas affect marine science in MBNMS and the compatibility of
various human activities with marine science. This information was also used to help
structure the agenda and prepare materials for the workshop. In addition, a summary of
responses was presented at the workshop prior to discussion sessions and served as a
starting point for those discussions.
Prior to each of the three workshop discussion sessions MBNMS staff provided an
overview of the discussion topics coupled with results from the on-line questionnaire.
Because there are many different types of marine regulated areas off central California,
including three national marine sanctuaries, the first presentation reviewed the location of
major regulated areas in or adjacent to MBNMS, the regulations specific to each type of
area, and the known or potential impacts of these regulations on marine science. To
ensure that participants understood the diversity and spatial arrangement of these
regulated areas, participants received three sets of supporting materials (provided in
Appendices A-C): maps showing the location of regulated areas in central California; a
'cheat sheet' summarizing information about each type of regulated area (e.g., managing
agency, date established, permanence, research permit requirements); and a summary of
regulations within each area.
After the presentation, participants were divided into three groups in separate rooms, and
independently discussed the same list of topics. The participants discussed how existing
spatial management either facilitates or impedes marine science and ways management
could facilitate science. The second breakout discussion session focused on how current
and emerging human activities affect marine science operations in MBNMS. Finally, a
third discussion session brought all participants together and focused on the future of
spatial management in MBNMS, including potential impacts of modifications to existing
regulated areas, marine spatial planning at the regional and national level, marine science
needs of MBNMS, and the role of the scientific community in management processes.
Key findings of this workshop were:
This workshop was a successful first step in gathering information on how MBNMS can
facilitate research in the sanctuary and better achieve the goals of the EBM Initiative. A
draft report was made available to workshop participants for comments prior to the
release of the final report. In addition, staff has summarized the findings of the workshop
in oral presentations to both the MBNMS Research Activities Panel (November 12,
2010) and Sanctuary Advisory Council (December 9, 2010).
- Participants found the current spatial management scheme to be complicated and
confusing. A more integrated and transparent system of spatial management could
facilitate marine science planning and operations in MBNMS.
- Regulations and permitting requirements of state and federal agencies have both a
real and perceived impact on regional scientists and can limit their ability to do
- There are science questions that are difficult to pursue in MBNMS given current
spatial management (e.g., ocean acidification, impact of bottom trawling,
- Areas are needed where research is promoted to study both applied and basic
science questions and, in some areas, to allow for manipulative experiments.
- Long-term cooperative research sites (e.g., sentinel sites) could serve to protect
scientific equipment given sufficient enforcement, and add value by co-locating
compatible scientific studies, and sharing equipment and data.
- Scientists as stakeholders: given the impact that existing and future regulated
areas and activities have on marine science capabilities, a number of workshop
participants expressed a need for the regional science community to take a
stronger role as stakeholders during decision making processes. It was noted that
the stakeholder role should be kept separate from the traditional role the scientific
community plays as providers of the best available science to inform resource
Keywords: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, marine science, research operations, human
activities, ecosystem-based management