September 25, 2010
On September 23 and 24, 2010 a workshop was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific that brought together scientists, environmental managers, policymakers, informal educators, and stakeholders to explore the role of public support in protecting special places in the Gulf of California and the Southern California Bight, which extends from Point Conception in Santa Barbara south to our border with Mexico.
The workshop focused on the value and importance of including public involvement and building support when designating and maintaining marine protected areas (MPAs). Topics included establishing collaborative relationships among stakeholders, community members, process facilitators, and decision makers; the importance of building capacity within the local community; the need to support entrepreneurial endeavors and help maintain economic stability; and the role outreach and education tools and programs can play in engaging members of the public in the planning, management, and implementation of MPAs.
The desired outcomes of the workshop included an involved public, governments and non-governmental organizations committed to designating and monitoring MPAs, thriving marine biodiversity and recreational fisheries, protected maritime cultural artifacts in Mexico and Southern California, and establishment of a network of MPAs throughout the Gulf of California and California coast.
Desired workshop outputs included a summary of public outreach strategies and initial ideas for an educational exhibit and outreach programs adaptable for informal education institutions like the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Caracol, and Centro Cientifico y Cultural in Ensenada.
A report of the workshop’s findings and activities is available for download here.