Environmental Management

, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 603–616 | Cite as

Stakeholder Opinions on the Assessment of MPA Effectiveness and Their Interests to Participate at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Canada

  • Nadine HeckEmail author
  • Philip Dearden
  • Adrian McDonald
  • Steve Carver


As the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) is globally increasing, information is needed on the effectiveness of existing sites. Many protected area agencies however have limited resources and are unable to evaluate MPA effectiveness. An evaluation conducted entirely by the managing agency may also lack credibility. Long-term monitoring and evaluation programs should ideally offer opportunities for participation of diverse groups in the selection of evaluation indicators and their assessment. A participatory approach has the potential to enhance evaluation capacity, to increase credibility and acceptance of results, to strengthen relationships between managers and local stakeholders, and to address more locally relevant information. Using a case study approach, this paper investigates diverse stakeholder groups’ opinions on the design of an evaluation and their interest to participate in an assessment. Respondents were most interested in the assessment of MPA achievements and outcome indicators. Most groups identified a range of government agencies and stakeholders that should participate in an assessment but only half of all respondents were interested to participate in monitoring activities. Most frequently mentioned limitations for more participation were a lack of time and money, but also governance shortcomings such as limited participation possibilities and not paying enough credit to stakeholders’ input. Participation interest was also influenced by occupation, place of residency, and familiarity with the marine environment. Differences exist among stakeholders about suitable evaluators and preferred monitoring partners, which could affect the credibility of evaluation results and affect monitoring activities.


Marine protected area Evaluation Stakeholders Participatory monitoring Canada 



The study is part of a Ph.D. underway at the University of Leeds (UK) in collaboration with the University of Victoria (CA). Financial assistance was provided by the University of Leeds Research Scholarship, the Canadian Studies Centre, at the University of Leeds postgraduate award, the British Association for Canadian Studies travel award and fieldwork funding provided by the Ocean Management Research Network, Canada, through the MPA Working Group based at the University of Victoria.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadine Heck
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philip Dearden
    • 2
  • Adrian McDonald
    • 1
  • Steve Carver
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.School of GeographyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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