Conservation Measure 91-04 establishes the requirement for research and monitoring plans to support marine protected areas (MPAs). Although CM 91-04 provides general guidance that such research and monitoring plans shall, to the extent necessary and inter alia, specify “(a) scientific research pursuant to the specific objectives of the MPA; (b) other research consistent with the specific objectives of the MPA; and/or (c) monitoring of the degree to which the specific objectives of the MPA are being met,” we are unclear about what a research and monitoring plan should actually contain and how it should be structured. Here we present a draft plan to support an MPA in the Ross Sea Region (RSR) and seek comments from the WG-EMM both on the contents and structure of our draft. Indeed, this draft largely represents a mechanism for generating discussion that we hope will be useful to all Members developing such plans. Although our draft is developed from the perspective of supporting an MPA like that presented in SC-CAMLR-XXX/9 (the U.S. scenario presented last year), we acknowledge that other Members have alternative views about the boundaries and objectives presented in SC-CAMLR-XXX/9. We expect that establishment of an MPA in the RSR will require agreement on alternative boundaries and objectives, and, ultimately, the “final” research and monitoring plan will need to support this agreement. We further acknowledge that other Members are also considering how to develop research and monitoring plans, and, much as the boundaries and objectives of any MPA will ultimately reflect shared views, we hope that elements of what we present here can, where appropriate, be merged with elements developed by others to provide an improved plan that both usefully supports an MPA in the RSR and indicates a way forward for plans to support other MPAs in the Convention Area.
Sarah Mackey (CCAMLR Secretariat)