SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 16, September 2016 - Page 121

million (250 kr million) to the local Tutukaka economy from the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve over the past 20 years. This of course doesn’t include the economic benefits that impact on air travel, rental cars, dive courses, accommodation, food, clothing, trinkets and so on. The benefits to conservation and fisheries are well documented and studied with the principal benefits coming from Larval seeding and spillover. However, the impacts from these processes can often be underestimated when assessing the potential benefits of establishing MPAs. Both of these processes have significant positive impacts for both the local and national fisheries.

Are there plans to further improve your example of tourism supporting conservation in the future?

After an initial investment by the local authorities and the national government and tourist venture capital investments, tourism through boat charters, dive tours and snorkel tours, glass bottomed boats and so on should generate a significant tourist industry. The educational benefits should not underestimated for both secondary and tertiary student researchers. The opportunity to carry not only marine studies related to conservation and environmental studies, but also for marketing, small business management, economics, tourism and so on. Monitoring and evaluation of the sites and associated industries has continued since the formal establishment of these reserves. The Poor Knights Islands MPA had an extensive biological survey (unpublished at the moment) as recently as February 2016.

The educational benefits should not be underestimated for both secondary and tertiary students and researchers. The opportunity to carry out not only marine studies related to conservation and environmental studies, but for marketing, small business management, economics, tourism and so on. Continued monitoring and evaluation of the sites and associated industries.

How could your example be transferred to another protected area and how could your experience be shared with others?

I am not suggesting that the transition from a pre-MPA situation to one where the significant benefits being realized by the Poor Knights Islands example is going to be easy, but there are examples of successful transitions taking place that can be used as templates and the Poor Knights Islands MPA is one such example. There are many ways of smoothing the transition and quickly establishing an industry to service tourism.The government could support those involved in the local commercial fishing industry to convert their vessels to tourist charter vessels. They could support training and education programmes to inform and to gain qualifications in the hospitality industry, dive master courses could be held so that the operators are qualified to supervise diving groups, education

programmes regarding the marine environment could be held so that operators can participate in eco-tourism, assistance with local, national and global marketing and so on. Universities could be invited to carry out research in the area and use the reserve for practical marine and ecology courses, local schools and community groups could be involved in studying and utilizing the marine reserve etc.The Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve is an example of a long term success story. This reserve was established 37 years ago and continues to be ever more successful. There are towns that exist because it exists. People who were once fishing for a living are doing considerably better off by taking their place in the conservation of these environments through their tourist activities. There is no reason why MPAs that are modelled similarly to the Poor knights Islands MPA should not be as successful if they are established and managed appropriately.

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