Science Advisory Report 2009/061

Science Guidance on the Development of Networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)


  • This DFO Science advisory report provides guidance to achieve national consistency for the design of MPA networks, particularly at regional scales. This guidance focuses on implementing the CBD design features in the Annexes referenced above. The design features include the scientific criteria in Annex I and the scientific guidance in Annexes II and III.
    • For a functional network of MPAs to exist, the network should deliver pre-identified outcomes beyond those which would be expected if there were only a collection of MPAs, each sited optimally and functioning for some individual specific purpose.
    • This SAR provides guidance that will be applicable at any geospatial scale at which an MPA network may be designed. Cases where the relevance of a specific component of the guidance changes with geospatial scale are discussed explicitly.
    • Development of networks of MPAs to achieve specific objectives should be conducted at the appropriate scale(s), supported by groups of experts with appropriate balance of interpretational perspectives and extensive knowledge (including scientific, traditional, and experiential knowledge) of the respective regions.
    • Specific science guidance is supplied regarding the application of; scale and scope, Canadian (DFO) ecologically or biologically significant area (EBSA) criteria, selection of representative areas, selection of representative areas, replication, connectivity, and adequacy and viability.

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While it was originally intended that a Proceedings document be produced; the current Science Advisory Report contains the expected conclusions and scientific advice intended from this Science Advisory Process.

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