Diving beneath Swedish protected waters : understanding governance and management of the HELCOM Marine Protected Areas (HELCOM MPAs) in Skåne, Sweden.

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUCSUS

Abstract: Marine protection has gained global attention following international and national goals for coverage percentages of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with effective management. In the Baltic Sea, a network of HELCOM MPAs has been established to contribute to international goals through regional collaboration. As part of the Baltic Sea Area, Sweden has also set targets for marine protection. Unfortunately, the environmental status of marine environments is considered unsatisfactory and the governance and management have not fulfilled the needs for a sustainable use of the marine resources. On top of this, increasing international pressure from targets, also increases the demands and challenges for a resilient governance and an effective management in MPAs. This thesis brings understanding of the governance and management of four HELCOM MPAs in Skåne as a questioning point for the achievement of international and national goals for marine protection in Sweden. Using literature review, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis, an interdisciplinary research approach is applied through the Marine Protected Area Governance framework under the concepts of Social-Ecological Resilience in the HELCOM MPAs in Skåne as complex Social-Ecological Systems. The framework is employed for the recognition of the governance and management structure and characterization, as well as the incentives applied as conservation strategies, and the arisen gaps and challenges. Finally, interconnectedness of core incentives through a Systems Thinking approach is developed in a Causal Loop Diagram. The results indicate that the HELCOM MPAs in Skåne have been implemented and managed through a decentralization process with a certain control from the state. A diverse set of incentives has been applied under the 5 categories of the framework. However, state funding, collaborative platforms, awareness, and uncertainty are some of the incentives that present gaps and challenges with a need for their interconnectedness for improvement and the achievement of positive social-ecological outcomes through a resilient governance and an effective management. The study of social and ecological spheres of MPAs is essential for questioning the implementation of current and future goals for marine conservation, where focusing on coverage percentages can mislead the intention of their implementation and generate further negative social and environmental impacts in the long-term. Indeed, diving under protected waters for the understanding of governance and management, as well as the diversity and interconnectedness of incentives within MPAs, such as the HELCOM MPAs in Skåne, is essential for a social-ecological resilience in the protected environments and the overall health of the oceans.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)