The management of nature reserves, whether terrestrial or marine, is of prime importance if they are to attain their conservation goals. At present, the main management methods for MNRs involve the control of human activities such as fishing and recreation. Active management to maintain or produce certain types of habitat, such as coppicing woodland, is not normally appropriate or possible in MNRs. In most cases it is not necessary or desirable to stop all human activity. In any case, you cannot put a fence around a marine nature reserve and there are a number of 'rights of passage' on the sea. Again an activity such as potting for lobsters and crabs may be considered potentially damaging in one part of a reserve but not in another. One way of dealing with this is the concept of 'zoning schemes' which has been adopted for the management of Lundy Island (Laffoley, 1995). This concept has had considerable success in Australia when applied to the massive Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Zoning schemes identify areas of a reserve or park in terms of their sensitivity to particular human activities. The less sensitive the area, the more activities are likely to be allowed. For such a scheme to work, it is essential that the information concerning which activities are allowed in which areas is disseminated to users of the area in a clear and easily used format. Coloured maps and charts with associated tables are proving quite successful in this context (see Figure 10.4).
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