A review of new and existing non-extractive techniques for monitoring marine protected areas

Ocean biodiversity loss is being driven by several anthropogenic threats and significant efforts are required to halt losses and promote healthy marine ecosystems. The establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can help restrict damaging activities and have been recognised as a potential solution to aid marine conservation. When managed correctly they can deliver both ecological and socio-economic benefits. In recent times, MPA designations have increased rapidly while many countries have set future MPA targets for the decades ahead. An integral element of MPA management is adequate monitoring that collects data to assess if conservation objectives are being achieved. Data acquired by monitoring can vary widely as can the techniques employed to collect such data. Ideally, non-destructive and non-invasive methods are preferred to prevent damage to habitats and species, though this may rule out a number of traditional extractive sampling approaches such as dredges and trawls. Moreover, advances in ocean observation technologies enable the collection of large amounts of data at high resolutions, while automated data processing is beginning to make analyses more logistically feasible and less timeconsuming. Therefore, developments to existing marine monitoring techniques and new emerging technologies have led to a diverse array of options when choosing to implement an MPA monitoring programme. Here, we present a review of new and existing non-extractive techniques which can be applied to MPA monitoring. We summarise their capabilities, applications, advantages, limitations and possible future developments. The review is intended to aid MPA managers and researchers in determining the suitability of available monitoring techniques based on data requirements and site conditions.


McGeady R, Runya RM, Dooley JSG, Howe JA, Fox CJ et al

Frontiers in Marine Science
07, 19, 2023
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2023.1126301