Steve Sutter

ITMEMS 6 session descriptions

Steve Sutter

ITMEMS 6 will feature a number of different sessions on different topics, thus far, the following topics have been identified, as well as their trainers (please visit the trainers’ tab on the ITMEMS 6 webpage for the trainers’ golden paragraphs).

Innovative Finance

Trainer: Katy Mathias, Wildlife Conservation Society

Session length: 4 hours

During the half-day workshop, participants will receive a high-level overview of finance mechanisms that can be used to fund coral reef conservation and restoration, and a detailed explanation of 2-3 of these mechanisms. In addition, the overall framing of the topic will include an introduction to business planning for MPAs. Through small group work and use of a planning worksheet, participants will have the opportunity to connect the content directly to their specific situation and funding needs.

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Sustainable Tourism: Reducing impacts of reef tourism through public-private partnerships using the Green Fins approach


Trainers: Samantha Craven, Melissa Hobson and James Greenhalgh, The Reef-World Foundation

Session length: 4 hours

Environmental threats posed by reef tourism activities are well documented and management measures to address those threats are needed. Green Fins, an initiative of the UN Environment and The Reef-World Foundation, sets the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the SCUBA diving and snorkelling tourism industries. The approach encompasses three main elements: 1) certification of dive and snorkel operators based on a code of conduct and robust assessment system, 2) support towards developing or strengthening implementation of relevant regulatory frameworks, and 3) strategic outreach to marine tourism operators, their customers, and government partners.

Launched in 2004, Green Fins has evolved into a proven and replicable management approach to reduce local threats to reefs. It is now active in 12 countries and engages more than 600 marine tourism operators. The demand for expanding Green Fins into new sites and new countries is greater than ever, reflecting a shift towards sustainability from tourists, operators and governments/destination management authorities. As the benchmark of sustainability in the industry, Green Fins is also being used to boost tourism marketing. In addition, Green Fins tools promote compliance to the newly established ISO standard on sustainable diving (ISO 21416) which is driving destinations to implement best environmental practice.

Through this session, resource managers will learn how to use the Green Fins toolbox to manage marine tourism threats to coral reefs locally. Each participant will receive a Green Fins outreach toolkit (including educational posters, guidelines to best practice and PowerPoint presentations) and guidance on its use. Participants will also be given an opportunity to consider if the full Green Fins approach, including the assessments and regulatory reform, could strengthen coastal ecosystem management in their areas.

By the end of the session, participants will:-

  • understand the threats to reefs posed by marine tourism (diving and snorkelling);
  • understand how Green Fins tools can be used to mitigate those threats in their local context;
  • learn to identify mechanisms for allocating resources to promote marine tourism best environmental practice;
  • have access to tools and resources to promote environmental best practices that can be implemented within Marine Protected Areas immediately;
  • have access to, and understand the tools, resources and guidance to take initial steps towards the launch/piloting the full Green Fins programme within their sites.

Additional info on the session:
Target audience – Anyone who is involved in coastal/marine resource management, from the national to the local levels, and is interested in applying an integrated approach to manage environmental impacts associated with diving/snorkelling tourism activities.

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Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Practice


Trainers: Petra MacGowan, Reef Resilience Network, Jason Philibotte, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Ximena Escovar-Fadul, The Nature Conservancy and Ian Mcleod, RRAP

Session length: 4 hours

Coral reef managers are increasingly turning to restoration as a strategy to combat reef degradation and promote reef recovery. As a result, different techniques are being used across the globe, making it difficult to choose the right approach for the needs and capabilities of a particular location. To assist reef resource managers in planning and designing a restoration project for their local coral reefs, a Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning & Design was developed by NOAA’s Coral Reef Restoration Program, The Nature Conservancy and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Manager’s Guide and accompanying workbook provides a conceptual framework and structured thought process where the manager’s use information relevant to their specific location and create a restoration strategy that considers the long-term impacts of climate change.

This workshop will provide participants with information on the latest restoration best practices for coral reef ecosystems, including descriptions of a diversity of current and emerging restoration techniques being employed around the world, and an opportunity to use the Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning & Design with expert facilitation.

Strategic Communications for Coral Reef Conservation


Trainers: Petra MacGowan and Cherie Wagner, Reef Resilience Network

Session time: 2 hours

Are you looking to influence behaviour or raise awareness about an issue to advance your coral conservation efforts? This session can help you communicate effectively to reach your conservation goal! Based on demand from coral reef managers, we’ve developed the Strategic Communication for Conservation workbook. The workbook summarizes cutting edge communication planning materials and is designed to help you develop an effective communication strategy by walking you through key decision points for your project. In this session, participants will learn about a recipe for effective messages, develop their own messages specific to their work and target audience and practice sharing messages with other participants for feedback.

Utilizing new mapping technologies to enhance coral reef management and monitoring


Trainers: Helen Fox and Brianna Bambic, National Geographic Society

Session length: 4 hours

Coral reef managers and decision-makers need timely information to plan for and react to the increasing threats facing reefs, yet more than three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs have never been mapped and lack monitoring. The Allen Coral Atlas partnership was created to address this knowledge gap by producing the first-ever seamless global mosaic of high-resolution satellite imagery of the world’s coral reefs and mapping relevant benthic and geomorphic layers (see
In this workshop, participants will be introduced to the Allen Coral Atlas and learn how this new tool could be used by managers for site selection of marine protected areas, planning of restoration activities etc. We are also seeking input on how to build a network that can respond to the Atlas’s change detection component (e.g., of bleaching or sedimentation events, currently in development). Hands-on training will be provided on the use of the Atlas and how to generate innovative data visualization products through the platform to reach key audiences and decision-makers.

The Live Reef Food Fish Trade (LRFFT)


Trainer: Yvonne Sadovy, University of Hong Kong

Session length: 2.5 hours

The Live Reef Food Fish Trade (LRFFT) would be introduced in terms of main species in trade, how to identify them and the trade history and dynamics (i.e. trade routes) to provide context. The role of the trade in coastal fisheries of International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) members would be introduced discussing the benefits as well as some of the challenges of overfishing and conservation threats for a few of the species. The focus would be on groupers (Epinephelidae) and the Napoleon wrasse, as key species in the trade.

To best manage this trade and associated fisheries, baseline information is important on the fishery and also regarding key species traded and those that are of conservation concern. Yet information on reef fishes, in general, is often poor and only sporadically collected, if collected at all, in the region. Guidelines and instruction will be provided on several key aspects of fish biology and fisheries. These will include simple methods to determine the size of sexual maturation (relevant for minimum size management), methods to detect whether fish spawning aggregations are being exploited and how to assess their status (aggregations are very susceptible to overexploitation and should not be fished for the LRFFT), how to track fish lengths and catch rates over time and why these metrics are important for management and to understand fishery condition, how to detect overfishing, and how to assess field abundance of uncommon but readily visible species like the Napoleon wrasse.

In addition to learning about methods for monitoring fish populations and fisheries and assessing stock condition, participants will learn about how to understand fisheries from the perspective of fishers and their experiences with the live reef fish trade over 30 years in Indonesia. A trader will share his experiences and practical challenges as he attempts to carry out his trade using sustainable practices.

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Introduction to Marine Protected Areas

Trainers: Marthen Welly and I Nyoman Suardana Coral Triangle Center (CTC)

Session length: 4 hours

This course aims to provide participants with brief background and up-to-date insights on the design, planning, and management of MPAs. Participants will learn the basics of population dynamics of exploited species, and how these dynamics relate to resource use. While the course uses examples from all over the world, there is a strong focus on the Indonesian context.

Workshop objectives:

  • to understand the foundational concepts of marine conservation. – MPA definition, IUCN MPA categories, threats to marine resources, multi-purpose MPA – zoning system
  • to learn the role of MPAs as a tool for marine biodiversity conservation, sustainable fisheries, and marine resource management. – MPA benefits
  • to understand the basic principles of MPA management. – Steps in establishing an MPA, fishing exercise
  • to enhance interest in and awareness of marine resource conservation. – Marine tourism, fish length estimation

MPAs and resilience: coping with rapid change


Trainer: Jean-Jacques Goussard

Session length: 2 hours

The objective of the training is to introduce approaches and tools for integrating resilience as a component of MPA management. The training will be mainly based on the resilience guidelines and tools developed by the transatlantic MPAs network project. These guidelines and tools are based on the experience of MPA managers and good practices to increase MPA resilience and the role they play in increasing resilience of surrounding coastal areas.

These guidelines and related tools can guide managers on the following:

When developing or implementing a management plan: Resilience capacity-building objectives and tasks can be integrated into a management plan, whether it is the initial plan for a new MPA or planning implementation. The performance and utility of the guidelines can be assessed mid-term or at the end of the implementation period. When evaluating a management plan that does not initially address resilience: Even if a management plan does not define objectives and activities related to resilience, the criteria and indicators proposed could be used when evaluating plan implementation. This exercise can inform decisions to integrate new elements in an updated management plan for the next implementation period. When facing new or emerging challenges or external threats: New activities or changes within or near the MPA may benefit from using the guidelines and Resilience tool. For example, development or urbanization in the surrounding area, conflicts with stakeholders, or recovery and restoration efforts following a serious hazard may benefit by incorporating resilient strategies that enable MPA managers to strengthen their capacity to address rapid and impactful changes. Implementing a resilience assessment will facilitate identifying the main weaknesses and potential management strategies.

The training will also be a good opportunity to develop exchanges of experience and to possibly improve guidelines and tool taking into account the contribution of MPAs managers who will attend the 6th International Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management Symposium (ITMEMS).

Mangrove restoration


Trainer: Dominic Wodehouse, Mangrove Action Project

Session length: 2 hours

Mangrove restoration is just one aspect of integrated mangrove management, which has received a great deal of attention since Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. It is much more effective to conserve existing mangrove forests than to rehabilitate destroyed mangrove areas, in terms of biomass, total productivity, cost, carbon storage and biodiversity. Nonetheless, rehabilitation of degraded mangrove areas is important to restore coastal environmental functions including increasing fisheries productivity, providing wood products and NTFPs for local communities, protection against waves and winds and reduction of erosion. Rehabilitation programmes can act as an education activity which helps build positive awareness and knowledge of the benefits of mangrove amongst coastal communities, NGOs, government and the media.

Due to the high failure rate of mangrove planting projects after the tsunami, Mangrove Action Project (MAP) started to provide training on the principles of Community-Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) and carried out the first training in 2005 in Andhra Pradesh, India with the late Robin Lewis as the main instructor. Since that time MAP has carried out more than 20 CBEMR training in 12 countries in Asia, Central and South America, and most recently in Africa. No two trainings are the same as each session is tailored to local needs and conditions.

MAP’s CBEMR process is an alternative mangrove restoration technique to hand planting. CBEMR is a holistic method which combines decades of field experience with the current scientific understanding of how mangrove ecology works. CBEMR encourages project teams to work with local groups and stakeholders to facilitate natural regeneration of mangroves by restoring and improving the local hydrology and topography, and by removing or reducing stressors to mangroves. This avoids the time and expense of developing a nursery and planting nursery-raised seedlings. It also facilitates increased site biodiversity and thereby helping to bring back the full complement of mangrove ecosystem services.

Methods for scaling mitigation and compensatory measures in tropical marine ecosystems


Trainer: Mathieu Pinault, MAREX-UMR ENTROPIE and Aurore Léocadie, MAREX-IRD Espace dev

Session length: 2 hours

The significant demographic growth of the overseas territories is accompanied by the development of roads, buildings, ports and industrial plants. These development projects are often the cause of direct and indirect impacts on the coastal environment and coral reefs. The MERCI-Cor method was developed with the aim of quantifying these ecological losses, in order to size the compensatory measures and respect the objectives of no net loss of biodiversity.

Since 2016, the team has been working on the application of this method on case studies using ecological indicators. The result was the production of the guide “Methodology for scaling mitigation and compensatory measures in tropical marine ecosystems” in French (Pinault et al., 2017) and English (Pioch et al., 2018). These handbooks provide methods and solutions to the main challenges related to the implementation of the principle: “Avoid, Reduce and Offset” in the coral reef environment.

As part of this guide, the “MERCI-Cor” method was developed on the basis of the American Rapid Assessment Method (RAM). This method makes it possible, through an operational approach, to help the different aspects of the “Avoid, Reduce and Offset” sequence in the evaluation and analysis of projects. This method finds its strength in the evaluation of the state of conservation of a given area as a whole. Therefore, it does not focus only on certain species that are often protected or on certain ecological functions.

This workshop will provide participants with the tools to evaluate the ecological losses caused by coastal development and the gains obtained following the implementation of compensatory measures.

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