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Whitepaper: Using a Business Plan Format for Drafting Management Plans in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative
UCLA Journal of Environmental law and Policy (2006)
  • James Mize
This paper looks at what would need to be included for the purpose of assessing the financial, human and physical resources required to establish and manage Marine Protected Areas (“MPAs”) designated under the MLPA Initiative process as part of an MPA Management Plan. While the Marine Life Protection Act requires “[s]pecific identified objectives, and management and enforcement measures, for all MPAs in the system,” the Act provides no clear guidance as to what constitutes sufficient planning to assure the proper management of the MPAs. As such, this paper seeks to organize a framework approach or logic for how managers can address implementing and improving activities for both individual MPAs by taking an approach similar to that used in business plans used to guide development of entrepreneurial organizations. Business plans enjoy several advantages over other types of planning processes reviewed. Rather than being created merely to satisfy statutory requirements narrowly conscribed to its specific regulatory context, a business plan is a “living document” guiding daily activities that can be modified to adapt to new learning throughout its implementation. Applied to MPAs, this flexibility allows adaptation to a particular area’s own unique circumstances and local context. Business plans also have the benefit of being tested in countless applications and refined over time. General practices have evolved through practice and less relevant components have been discarded. The essence of the business plan format is in its pragmatism. Business plans are designed to be used, focusing on process rather than the mere production of a document. An MPA Management Plan directs the day-to-day management activities at a discrete site, and must deal with the daily realities of operational headaches managers will face. Rather than follow formalistic approaches appropriate for more programmatic assessments, an MPA Management Plan needs to focus on specifics relevant to the individual site in order to provide clear guidance for managerial actions. Following a business plan format focuses the manager’s energies on the tasks at hand – identifying constituents, choosing strategies, and laying out step-by-step operations to achieve these strategies. A business plan format has the advantage of being time-tested and proven; countless numbers of business plans have been followed to achieve results. When used as part of the broader Marine Life Protection Program, MPA Management Plans based on a business plan format offers a valuable tool for the MPA manager in tracking implementation programs for the individual MPA.
  • marine reserves,
  • marine proteccted areas,
  • management plans
Publication Date
Citation Information
James Mize. "Whitepaper: Using a Business Plan Format for Drafting Management Plans in the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative" UCLA Journal of Environmental law and Policy Vol. 24 Iss. 2 (2006)
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