new paper by Jon Day, published in Coastal Management, outlines the importance of effective public participation to achieve effective marine conservation.

The paper cites examples of the lessons learned during the Representative Areas Program (RAP).  The RAP was a key component of the widely acclaimed rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and was, at the time, the most comprehensive process of community involvement and participatory planning for any environmental issue in Australia.

This paper provides an analysis of the comprehensive public participation program that significantly influenced the final planning outcome. Although the rezoning was completed in 2003, many lessons learned are still relevant today.  The paper provides insights into a fundamental component of effective marine planning, assessing what worked well and what did not in terms of public engagement. While this paper may seem a fairly basic write-up, very little was found in the literature providing similar advice to planners/practitioners.

The methods used to engage the public and the 25 lessons discussed in this paper should be of interest for practitioners, policy makers and academics elsewhere aiming for “good practice” approaches to achieve environmental conservation.

The supplementary material available at is a key part of the information for the paper (espec Suppl. Tables T1 and T2).

Day JC. 2017. Effective Public Participation is Fundamental for Marine Conservation—Lessons from a Large-Scale MPA. Coastal Management.

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