Big Ocean
Status of initiative: On track
Description/achievement of initiative

Big Ocean members have identified three primary aims for the network. - LEARNING: To share information and experience that will improve large-scale MPA management practice;- KNOWLEDGE: To collaboratively analyze large-scale MPAs in order to increase the conservation community's knowledge and understanding of the unique challenges and needs associated with marine protection at a large-scale; and- COMMUNICATION: To enable communication between managers, management teams, and supporting partner staff among all member sites, as well as to provide member sites with a vehicle through which their learning, knowledge, and progress can be shared with the outside worldSIDS can benefit from the products and services developed around the network's objectives as they will have access to lessons learned, expertise and in some cases material resources, which could include funding, to aid in improving the management of their ocean resources as well as developing relationships (and possibly partnerships) with other countries and natural resource management agencies.

Implementation methodologies

Big Ocean seeks to achieve its aims by:- Fostering peer learning through sharing of experiences and information, and collaborative analysis and communications around specific topics;- Provisioning of peer-based technical guidance, mentoring, and support regarding specific management challenges,- Collaborating on key scientific research issues of mutual interest or concern, and periodic joint scientific investigation and partnerships; and- Sharing and testing of new management tools and techniques, including remote surveillance and enforcement expertise and technology

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Big Ocean seeks to engage in a variety of activities and initiatives, as well as create products that produce tangible, practical outcomes. Although there is overlap between the purpose and benefits of any given activity, to date the network has employed three general approaches to accomplishing our purpose and aims:Capacity Building: expanding the skills and professional experience of member site staff to improve operations at the site level and to enhance functioning of the network. Activities include: business meetings, staff exchanges and joint research cruises.Communication: enhancing the development, collection, analysis and sharing of information (and knowledge) internally and externally. Activities include: membership surveys, outreach materials, maintaining a presence on the web and across social media, and presentations at international conferences.Product Development: the creation of tools and services that enhance management efforts; improve the design, establishment and long-term management of large-scale MPAs; increase the effectiveness of management actions; and further professionalize the field. Examples of tools and services include: Learning Exchanges, the Shared Research Agenda for Large-Scale Marine Managed Areas (published 2012), and Management Guidelines for Large-Scale MPAs (in development)

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

Big Ocean is an informal network, in which members and partners participate voluntarily. As a non-binding entity, the activities and commitments made by the network (or subset of the network) are also non-binding and carried forward voluntarily by members and partners who find value in the effort.No formal charter or operating agreement has been developed. This decision was made at the inaugural meeting with the understanding that this could change over time as the network grows.


All government agencies connected to the large-scale MPAs of each member site, e.g. NOAA for Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument, and the Chilean Undersecretariat for Fisheries in relation to the Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park. Examples of other partners are: Conservation International and New England Aquarium for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area; PEW (Global Ocean Legacy), the Chagos Conservation Trust and the Zoological Society of London (amongst others) for the British Indian Ocean Overseas Territory Marine Reserve; The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and other local partners such as the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology for Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument; Oceana for Motu Motiro Hiva; Te Ipukarea Society for the Cook Islands Marine Park
Launch of the Guidelines for the Design and Management of Large-Scale MPAs in partnership with IUCN WCPA-Marine
Resources devoted to implementation
In-kind contribution
Each site and relevant partners bring financing, in-kind labor, technical assistance and other resources to those events, projects and/or network initiatives that interest them and/or when they are able.
Staff / Technical expertise
Example: British Indian Ocean Territory Marine Reserve and their partner the Chagos Conservation Trust sponsored key staff from Papahānaumokuākea MNM, to participate in a cruise to the Chagos Archipelago to support existing research and monitoring effor
Financing (in USD)
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: ongoing
Operating in countries
Partner connections
Contact information/focal point(s)
Kristen Koyama, Kristen.Koyama@noaa.gov

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