The oceans provide highly important benefits to humans, ranging from sustenance and travel to livelihoods and spiritual wellbeing to climate stabilisation. Yet, globally the use of the marine environment has been unsustainable with extensive pressure being applied either directly or indirectly. This has led to the degradation of almost all marine ecosystems, with no system considered pristine from the depths of the Marianas trench to the inshore seas.Destabilisation of the ocean systems is jeopardising their ability to slow down the effects of climate change. This destabilisation is being driven in part by unsustainable and destructive human practises, such as: overfishing, pollution, coastal development, deep sea mining and habitat destruction. To counteract the negative effects of these practises, spatial management of the marine environment is highly important. The most common form of marine spatial management is the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). MPAs are being championed as a method to decrease negative impacts to marine systems, while also allowing a certain level of benefit to humans, with inclusion to legislation guidance from organisations such as: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and European Union (EU: Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Water Framework Directive). MPAs can be highly varied in multiple ways: geographic extent, from tens of square metres to thousands of square kilometres; level of protection, from total prohibition of all activities to personal quotas for specific activities; enforcement, from heavy military enforcement to no enforcement and designation rationale, from fisheries and conservation to personal or spiritual. This variety in MPAs, alongside the inherent variability of the marine environment in which they are applied, makes the application and assessment of successful MPAs a significant challenge. Therefore, effective and efficient MPA assessment is highly important, not only to allow for the adaptive management of current MPAs but also to inform the best approach for implementing new MPAs elsewhere. Here a model system, Lyme Bay in the United Kingdom, is used to assess non-extractive MPA monitoring methods. The system includes multiple management strategies, with differing geographical, temporal and protection scales; many of the details are unique to the location but could, if beneficial, be applied more widely throughout the United Kingdom (UK) and potentially the globe. University of Plymouth staff, students and volunteers have applied a range of monitoring methods yearly to assess different MPA effects since the summer of 2008. Discussed is the assessment of the methods themselves, some of the potential analysis techniques and the use of these techniques to assess the different management strategies within the model system.

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.