The following recommendations describe prioritized management actions that governments, NGOs, the private sector and scientists can take to improve reef health. They were developed by HRI partners and staff at the Regional Partners Meeting in Playa del Carmen, Mexico in August 2012 and were ranked by their impact on ecological and social well-being.
- Create and implement integrated coastal zone management plans that include impacts from watersheds.
- Create an outreach network to educate, inform, and translate research information to managers, policy makers, government leaders, researchers, stakeholders and communities through effective use of the media.
- Reduce upstream watershed pollution sources (agriculture, livestock, urban, industrial, rural, deforestation) through better management plans and practices; and regulations in each sector.
- Promote more effective fisheries regulations of species with key ecosystem functions.
- Achieve 20% of territorial sea under "full protection" by 2020, through an inclusive and participatory approach.
- Formalize the creation and implementation of alternative livelihood programs, especially for fishers displaced by "fully protected" areas.
- Improve the effectiveness of MPA management through enforcement, funding and improvement of technical capacity.
- Apply the regionally accepted standards for sewage effluents (Land Based Sources of Marine Pollution Protocol of the Cartagena Convention for Class I waters).
- Design and establish a regional system of MPAs with ecological connectivity, habitat, species representation, and including areas of particular importance for biodiversity, ecosystem services and resiliency.
- Standardize fisheries regulations (size limits, closed seasons, fishing gear) and strengthen their application.
- Adopt and expand a reward system for carbon sequestration and encourage a reduction in hydrocarbon extraction and dependency while promoting the use of alternative renewable energy sources.
- Engage in research that responds to questions posed by resource and protected area managers and reef stakeholders, including the identification of specific stressors impacting reefs.
- Continue implementing a standardized regional monitoring program and create a collaborative database that includes all necessary indicators of reef health.
- Promote and adopt existing responsible and sustainable consumption guidelines for marine species.
- Private sector should contribute significantly to the fulfillment of conservation objectives (as defined in their management plan) of the region's MPAs through financial assistance, technical support and/or human resources.
- Governments should provide economic incentives for conservation and sustainable businesses and eliminate subsidies that compromise conservation goals.
- Adopt voluntary "Codes of Conduct", "Ecolabels," and other mechanisms that reduce environmental impacts in accordance with international standards for hotels and marine recreation providers.
- Transform all open access fisheries to rights based sustainable fisheries management systems.
Full article can be accessed at: http://www.healthyreefs.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/2012-Report-Card.pdf