Social Science Plan

photo of a pier

This social science plan is a three to five-year effort to acquire and analyze scientifically rigorous socioeconomic data on all human uses of the Sanctuary. The spectrum of human uses is categorized as consumptive (e.g., commercial and recreational fishing, spear fishing), non-consumptive (e.g., kayaking, diving), passive (e.g., learning about the sanctuary through reading), and education and research related (e.g., lectures and exhibits). A strategy for addressing reserve (MPA) effects to each of these user groups is included in this plan.

Data are required to address three main objectives: (i) test socioeconomic predictions made prior to establishment of the marine reserve network, (ii) monitor human-sanctuary interactions to inform adaptive management of marine reserves, and (ii) contribute to an ecosystem-based approach to management.

In 2003, over 100 scientists, agency staff, and stakeholders met to provide formal research and monitoring recommendations.  With further input from CINMS stakeholders and scientists, these formal recommendations were used to devise a program of research and monitoring presented in this plan, including a strategy for each user group, a consultative process for working with stakeholders, and process for establishing priorities and allocating funds.

Outline of recommended research

This plan presents, by user group, the full spectrum of recommended actions for acquiring and analyzing data, and using findings to inform the adaptive management process.

1.     Research questions to be addressed: These are the research questions that are pertinent to understanding reserve effects and, where possible, net socioeconomic benefits of marine reserves.

2.     Information required: The data and associated analyses that are necessary to address research questions.

3.     Research and monitoring activities: Specific activities that will provide the information required to address research questions.

4.     Integrated assessment:  Notes on incorporation of an ecosystem-based approach to management.

A strategy is defined for each user group that presents the abovementioned items, defines priorities, differentiates funded from planned activities, and identifies who will be responsible for each activity.

Priorities and process for funds allocation

The plan identifies the order in which activities will be undertaken and the principals used to derive priorities and allocate new funds.

Consultative process

It is recognized in this plan that socioeconomic research and monitoring cannot take place without cooperation from Sanctuary users, and that human surveys are an important tool for collecting spatial use data. A consultative process is presented that defines protocols for interacting with users, sharing information, and, where necessary, keeping data confidential (with few exceptions, all data are made publicly available).