The system of marine parks that spans Australia’s Commonwealth waters is among the largest in the world. Sixty Australian Marine Parks (AMPs) represent diverse habitats from the shallows to the deep ocean. The parks play a major role in conserving marine life and supporting our livelihoods and recreational pursuits. They also help to protect cultural values significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Parks Australia (PA) has developed management plans for the five regional AMP Networks (North, North-west, South-west, South-east and Temperate East) and the Coral Sea Marine Park. PA’s adaptive management approach involves implementing management while learning about which actions are most effective at achieving desired outcomes. The PA Management Effectiveness system is fundamental to this approach and helps to measure the implementation of management strategies, evaluate effectiveness, and identify opportunities for improvement.
In the past decade, Australia’s researchers have provided managers with significant data and data products to help plan and establish AMPs. This includes substantial work undertaken through the Marine Biodiversity Hub (a forerunner of the Marine and Coastal Hub). Further work is now needed to meet the data product requirements for assessing management effectiveness. This Marine and Coastal Hub project will identify and evaluate priority data and data products and demonstrate how they can be applied to support management decision-making for AMPs.
Identifying, evaluating and activating priority data and data products
Working closely with Parks Australia, the project team will identify data and data products to characterise marine systems, assess the condition of marine park values, report on monitoring priorities and evaluate management effectiveness.
The relevant data and data products must be able to be maintained and updated over meaningful timeframes (reporting cycles, management plans), and be operationally viable to specify, develop, manage, update and use. They must also be consistent and accessible. Important to this will be an assessment of the supporting hardware and software infrastructure. This will explore alignment with FAIR data principles; consistency of formats, vocabularies and units of measure; machine-actionable interfaces; and the use of data standards specific to marine research.
Based on available data, knowledge and underlying infrastructure, the project team will develop and demonstrate methods for estimating the condition of park values (excluding cultural values) and, if possible, management effectiveness. Recommendations will be provided for improving the delivery of priority data and data products to manage AMPs.
This project will advance the capacity to assess management effectiveness of AMPs through improving access to data and data products that support the evaluation of park values based on latest knowledge.
Parks Australia will be equipped with:
- an assessment of the suitability and availability of data products for park management and recommendations for ways to improve data products and availability to managers; and
- a method to assess the condition of park values (based on observed indicator metrics), and also translate that condition to one of the Parks Australia four management effectiveness categories for marine park values.