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amination of the hypotheses concerning marine reserve design and implementation. Research in reserves could provide estimates for important parameters in fishery models such as natural mortality rates and dispersal properties of larval, juvenile, and adult fish. Other research programs could test marine reserve design principles such as connectivity or the effect of reserve size on recovery of exploited species. Modeling studies are needed both to generate hypotheses and to analyze outcomes for different reserve designs and applications.

Institutional Structures

Integration of management across the array of federal and state agencies will be needed to develop a national system of MPAs that effectively and efficiently conserves marine resources and provides equitable representation for the diversity of groups with interests in the sea. The recent executive order issued by the White House on May 26, 2000, initiates this process through its directive to NOAA (Department of Commerce) to establish a Marine Protected Area Center in cooperation with the Department of the Interior. The goal of the MPA Center shall be “to develop a framework for a national system of MPAs, and to provide Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local governments with the information, technologies, and strategies to support the system.” Establishment of a national system of MPAs presents an opportunity

  • to improve regional coordination among marine management agencies;

  • to develop an inventory of existing MPA sites; and

  • to ensure adequate regulatory authority and funds for enforcement, research, and monitoring.

Effective enforcement of MPAs will be necessary to obtain cooperation from affected user groups and to realize the potential economic and ecological benefits. Also, coordination among agencies with different jurisdictions will improve the representation of on-site and off-site user groups so that the general public's cultural and conservation values, as well as commercial and recreational activities, receive consideration. Under current management approaches, these interests are often addressed by different agencies independently of each other and may result in short-term policies that are inconsistent with the nation's long-term goals.


What are the consequences of not developing a national system of marine reserves and protected areas? Are conventional management strategies sufficient to ensure that our descendents will enjoy the benefits of the diversity and abundance of ocean life? One purpose of this report is to compare conventional

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