The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and FOS Europe have developed a framework and a 10-step method for tackling the big challenges in marine conservation. The framework contains definitions, guiding principles, and a methodology for design and management of networks of marine protected areas. Together with the step-by-step guidance, it helps to systematically reason through how much of what to protect, and how to protect it, in order to achieve the desired results within MPA networks. It provides tools for setting objectives for threat reduction based on the sensitivity of the targets to different threats, as well as for deciding how stringent regulation needs to be.
One of the keystones is developing a common language that allows different regions and administrative levels to collaborate and standardise monitoring and evaluation between them. Another keystone is compiling an evidence base and visualising it in the form of a dashboard that enables data analysis.
The framework and method are not yet complete, and further work is needed (e.g. on setting goals for connectivity and on spatial planning). Nevertheless, they are strong enough to be put into practice, and they are being applied in Sweden through the gradual establishment of regional MPA networks. This process will reveal which elements work well and which need to be fine-tuned.
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (2021). The Swedish approach to MPA Network Design & Management: Framework and step-by-step guidance. (Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Manage- ment report 2021:12)