Table of Contents

  • This report is a documentary of the Workshop on the Development and Management of Marine Protected Areas that was held at Metsähallitus “Blue mussel” Visitor Centre in Kasnäs, Finland 8-15 May 2004.

  • Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being developed and utilised as management tools in efforts to conserve and protect fish stocks and marine biodiversity in Northern European seas. Different areas require different measures, but there are nonetheless several overarching themes that can and must be taken into consideration in all cases in order to ensure sound development and management of MPAs. The workshop aimed to provide planners and managers with knowledge of most of these themes and thus give marine conservation efforts a push forward.

  • For many decades, our marine and coastal ecosystems have been under increasing pressure from human activities. Our seas are under constant bombardment from an arsenal of threats that include e.g. dredging, pollution (including run-off from land), coastal development, and invasive species (e.g. Salm et al 2000; Palumbi 2002). Commercial fishing has resulted in overfishing, and the use of fishing gear that dig into the seabed has permanently altered crucial habitats, leaving some heavily fished areas in a perpetual state of disturbance (Peterson & Estes 2001 in Palumbi 2002).

  • The presentations and the experience of the speakers made up the backbone of the workshop, providing the themes and the tools for further discussion. With an international group of participants consisting of approximately 1/5 university researchers, 1/5 NGOs and 3/5 government (see List of Attendees), these discussions had optimal conditions. In the intermissions and in the group sessions, the participants talked about issues, experiences and future plans among themselves, and continued to do so whenever the possibilites arose throughout the week.

  • The use of the term Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a growing phenomenon, but because of a lack of clarity and a plethora of definitions this growing interest in the idea is confused and uncoordinated. This is an ideal situation for opponents/detractors of the idea to divide and rule. There is an ever-increasing need for better protection and management of the marine environment and the appropriate use of MPAs is something that needs to be explored.

  • The workshop itself went very well indeed. It gave us the inspirational kick we so badly needed to improve the basic know-how in marine nature conservation in the Nordic countries. The workshop lectures were excellent and the group work gave us a chance to try out what we had learned and to discuss different scenarios and case studies.