Marine Conservation Agreements - A Practitioner's Toolkit


The Practitioner's Toolkit for Marine Conservation Agreements (MCAs) provides information for local, national, and international organizations regarding a promising strategy to protect ocean and coastal biodiversity from degradation and depletion. The toolkit helps conservation organizations determine: 1) What MCAs are; 2) When MCAs can help abate threats to ocean and coastal species, habitats, and ecosystems; and 3) How to plan and proceed with MCA projects. MCAs include any formal or informal understanding between two or more parties in which the parties obligate themselves, for an exchange of benefits, to take certain actions, refrain from certain actions, or transfer certain rights and responsibilities to achieve agreed upon ocean or coastal conservation goals.

What Is It?

Stakeholder engagement and outreach tool (for participatory goal and priority setting and stakeholder education)

Decision support tool

  • Conservation and restoration site selection tool
  • Coastal zone management tool
  • Fisheries management tool
  • Coastal and watershed land use planning tool

Project management tool (for budgeting, scheduling, reporting, etc.)


  • Tool is web based

  • Tool handles socio-economic impacts

Expertise Needed

Technical expertise: Basic computer skills sufficient

Scientific expertise: General understanding of issues

Resource Requirements: Requires little staff time to review tool. To apply the tool to sites requires considerable time for feasibility analysis, stakeholder engagement and implementation.

Types of Data Needed

Equipment needs: Basic computer and Internet access

Types of data input needed to use tool: Biodiversity targets and threats, conservation strategies, owner/manager/user information, stakeholder information, financial information

Input formats: User defined

Types of output data from tool: User created reports

Output formats: User defined

How Do I Get It?


Demo Website:

Tool Cost: free

Contact Information

Developer: The Nature Conservancy

Tool contact: Jay Udelhoven


Phone: 206-343-4345, ext. 339

Address: 1917 First Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101 U.S.A.


Technical Support: Tool is organized as a self-guided, on-line how-to manual. Support to understand the tool can be gained through the contact page. Support to implement the tool can be requested through the contact page.

Projects that have used this tool: The tool was created from the experiences of several projects, see