Science supporting the proposed
Falkland Islands Marine Managed Areas (MMAs)

The proposed Falkland Islands Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) are one of the most exciting and important developments, both in the protection of our marine environment, and steps toward Ecosystem Based Management. The proposed MMAs are near pristine marine wilderness areas. They are areas that have little or no fishing impact, have irreplaceable and globally important biodiversity, are ecologically representative, but presently do not have a legal framework for protection. If designated, the proposed MMAs will encompass 15% of the Falklands marine waters (some 67,000 km2). The proposed MMAs were selected based on the fishing closure areas, identified through the Assessment of Fishing Closure Areas as Sites (AFCAS) project, which included workshops and a public consultation, held in 2017. The proposed MMAs have now reached the stage of policy formulation, led by the Falkland Islands Government (FIG), which entailed a public consultation in April and May 2022.

SAERI compiled a comprehensive technical document to feed into the 2022 FIG public consultation. The compilation of the technical document, and much of the research presented was made possible by funding from the John Ellerman Foundation and their financing of the Marine and Coastal Program Coordinator (MCPC) role at SAERI. The technical document is over 250 pages organized into four main chapters:



focused on inshore data to support the conservation of Kelp forests, and the unique benthic diversity and ecosystems found within them, comprising all of Falkland Islands internal waters as measured from 3 nm from the baseline inwards to the intertidal high-water mark. 



Focused on the unique biogeographic province associated with seafloor habitats and open ocean seascapes of the eastern Burdwood Bank National Marine Nature Reserve (NMNR) and Sustainable Multi-use Zone (SMZ) and this regions importance for carbon storage and sequestration ‘blue carbon’.



highlights the importance of coastal and inshore areas, which provide feeding and breeding habitats that support globally important populations of seabirds and marine mammals.



explored the social and economic data informing the critical importance of sustaining the marine economy, through ecosystem services, sustainable fisheries and tourism, and the Falklands way of life.

In totality, these chapters provide a suit of in-depth analysis that ensures the proposed MMAs are supported by data, and that the information is available to Falkland Islands stakeholders and local communities - to inform a broader understanding of the beautiful biodiversity on our door step and how to protect it for future generations.
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