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Protecting Antarctica through Co-production of actionable science: Lessons from the CCAMLR marine protected area process

Z. T. Sylvester and C. M.Brooks
Protecting High Seas

Threats to marine biodiversity worldwide have led to an increasing call for a global network of marine protected areas (MPAs). In 2018, Chile and Argentina have submitted an Antarctic Peninsula MPA proposal to the Commission on the Conservation of Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a leader in science-based management. The Antarctic Peninsula is a highly threatened part of the Southern Ocean, due to industrial fishing and climate change. In this study, the Antarctic Peninsula MPA proposal process is applied as a case study to understand the science-policy interface in the marine conservation context, in particular the co-production frameworks for actionable science. It is shown that the examined process has been transparent, highly collaborative and science-based. Even though best practices for actionable science have been followed, the proposal has not yet been adopted, mainly because of political barriers. This paper analyses the importance and effectiveness of co-production of actionable science, as well as the limitations of the Southern Ocean MPA process. Furthermore, it is argued that best practices related to science-policy processes are possibly not sufficient for consensus in decision-making processes of MPA designation in the Southern Ocean.