Passengers observing killer whales at Bremer Canyon. Credit Keith Lightbody
Passengers observing killer whales at Bremer Canyon. Image: Keith Lightbody

Social and economic values are key drivers for marine science and marine policy but are too rarely integrated with marine biodiversity monitoring programs. In close consultation with Parks Australia (PA) we are reviewing existing metrics used to survey social and economic values associated with marine parks. We are consulting with national and international, state and other Commonwealth agencies, some of which are conducting reviews or have existing frameworks for surveying social and economic values. This includes the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and NSW Department of Primary Industries.

In collaboration with national partners and PA we will organise a national methods workshops to discuss and refine metrics and methods to quantify social and economic benchmarks for state and Australian Marine Parks (AMPs). We will also produce standard operating procedures relevant to AMPs taking into consideration the Department of the Environment's environmental accounting processes and PA’s Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement framework.

Project update: Successful national workshop addresses social and economic monitoring of marine parks

In May 2020, the socio-economic research team hosted a national workshop to share ideas and discuss approaches. More than 30 representatives attended from state and Commonwealth agencies responsible for managing marine parks around Australia. They used video-conferencing to engage managers through ice-breaking activities, shared presentations and case study ‘breakout rooms’. The workshop covered frameworks, priorities, constraints and methods for conducting social and economic monitoring of marine parks, effectively strengthening communication between marine park agencies and social and economic researchers.