From Marxan to management

Ocean zoning with stakeholders establishes the Tun Mustapha Marine Park

Robecca Jumin from WWF-Malaysia (third from the right) receives a certificate in conservation planning from trainers from the University of Queensland (during one of the Marxan courses run in Malaysia). From the right are Hugh Possingham, Hedley Grantham and Carissa Klein. The course was run in 2010 in Sabah.

Robecca Jumin from WWF-Malaysia (third from the right) receives a certificate in conservation planning from trainers from the University of Queensland (during one of the Marxan courses run in Malaysia). From the right are Hugh Possingham, Hedley Grantham and Carissa Klein. The course was run in 2010 in Sabah.

Malaysia has just established the Tun Mustapha Marine Park off the northern tip of Sabah province in Borneo (Malaysia). At 1.6 million hectares, it’s the country’s biggest marine protected area, and Marxan and CEED scientists have played an important role in the planning process that led to its establishment.

The marine region at the northern tip of Borneo is globally significant for its marine life, with a rich diversity of coral reef, mangrove, and seagrass habitats as well as several threatened species, including dugong, humpback whales and sea turtles. The region is also home to over 187,000 people, about half of which depend on marine resources for their livelihood and wellbeing.

Since 2010, many CEED researchers (Carissa Klein, Maria Beger, Jennifer McGowan, Matt Watts, Hugh Possingham and Hedley Grantham) have supported the Malaysian Government (Sabah Parks) develop a zoning plan. Stakeholders and decision makers from the region explored a variety of methods for designing the marine park, and chose to use Marxan with Zones to support the process.

To build the capacity of stakeholders involved in zoning the Tun Mustapha Marine Park, we ran three courses in Marxan with Zones to about 30 people from 10 different agencies. In addition, we provided ongoing advice to the technical staff from WWF-Malaysia and Sabah Parks throughout the planning process. Finally, we were part of a team that conducted a marine biodiversity field expedition to assess the region’s biodiversity. (See a video of Maria Beger undertaking a reef dive as a part of this expedition at http://youtu.be/bLZ8QNksTdM).

Maria Beger undertaking a reef dive during a biodiversity assessment expedition carried out in 2012.

Maria Beger undertaking a reef dive during a biodiversity assessment expedition carried out in 2012.

Marxan with Zones was used to identify priority areas for three different zones (Weeks et al, 2014):

  • preservation zones, in which extractive activities are prohibited;
  • community-managed zones, where non-destructive small-scale and traditional fishing activities are allowed; and
  • multiple-use zones, where non-destructive and small-scale fishing and other sustainable development activities (such as tourism) are allowed.

The design of the Tun Mustapha Marine Park is intended to meet multiple management goals including poverty alleviation, sustainable development and conservation. To meet these goals a suite of biophysical and socioeconomic design principles were developed by multiple stakeholders. These were used to guide the Marxan with Zones analysis.

The analysis identified priority areas which were then reviewed by the Malaysian Government and local communities. This resulted in a final zoning plan – which I can now proudly announce has just been implemented.

Mangroves in the Tun Mustapha Marine Park provide valuable breeding grounds for young fish. (Photo by Eric Madeja)

Mangroves in the Tun Mustapha Marine Park provide valuable breeding grounds for young fish. (Photo by Eric Madeja)


More info: Carissa Klein c.klein@uq.edu.au

Reference

Weeks R, PM Aliño, S Atkinson, II Beldia Pacifico, A Binson, WL Campos WL, R Djohani , AL Green , R Hamilton, V Horigue , R Jumin , K Kalim, A Kasasiah, J Kereseka , C Klein, et al. (2014). Developing Marine Protected Area Networks in the Coral Triangle: Good Practices for Expanding the Coral Triangle Marine Protected Area System. Coastal Management 2014;42:183–205. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08920753.2014.877768

Leave a Reply