Members of the Locally-Managed Marine Area Network regional meeting in Fiji 2008.

Members of the Locally-Managed Marine Area Network regional meeting in Fiji 2008.

The Locally-Managed Marine Area Network is a group of practitioners involved in various community-based marine conservation projects around the globe, primarily in the Indo-Pacific, who have joined together to learn how to improve our management efforts. We are interested in learning under what conditions using an LMMA strategy works, doesn’t work, and why.

The Network’s membership consists largely of conservation and resource management projects that are using (or planning on using) an LMMA approach, and includes:

  • Community members
  • Land-owning groups
  • Traditional leaders
  • Elected decision-makers
  • Conservation staff
  • University scientists and researchers
  • Donors

The Network spans the people and cultures of Southeast Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and the Americas. Some nations have their own country-wide network, which operate autonomously, but within the framework of the overall Network.

Independently and together, we work toward our five objectives:

  • Learn about the LMMA approach (through systematic and question-driven monitoring and/or other assessment approaches).
  • Protect biodiversity at specific sites.
  • Promote the LMMA approach (and lessons from using it) in the Indo-Pacific and globally.
  • Build capacity for learning and implementation of Community-Based Adaptive Management (CBAM).
  • Develop the policy environment at local, regional, country and international levels to support widespread adoption of LMMAs.
Enipein community monitoring, Pohnpei. Photo: Conservation Society of Pohnpei

Enipein community monitoring, Pohnpei.
Photo: Conservation Society of Pohnpei


Vibrant, resilient, and empowered communities who inherit and maintain healthy, well-managed, and sustainable marine resources and ecosystems.


To advance the practice of community-based marine resource management and conservation by providing a forum for practitioners (communities, traditional leaders, individuals, organizations, and researchers) to share experiences and information. We work collaboratively to spread resources and knowledge on locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs) and community-based adaptive management (CBAM) and to promote and improve this approach.


  • Commitment – as a way to stay focused on goals.
  • Teamwork – because we can achieve more working together than we can on our own.
  • Objectivity – to enhance our science and our relations with our partners.
  • Transparency – to promote open and honest sharing of information and experience.
  • Empowerment – of individuals to take responsibility and be accountable for results.
  • Respect – that makes it possible to challenge each other without threatening our relationships.
  • Fun – as a way to stay energized and motivated.
  • Quality – in all that we do.

History of the LMMA Network

Ucunivanua Village, Fiji. Photo: Toni Parras

Ucunivanua Village, Fiji.
Photo: Toni Parras

Padaido Islands, Indonesia. Photo: Cliff Marlessy

Padaido Islands, Indonesia.
Photo: Cliff Marlessy

In the mid-1990s, various community-based projects were underway throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Meanwhile, three sites that were part of a Biodiversity Conservation Network project (supported by the Biodiversity Support Program to conduct an assessment of economic incentives for natural resource conservation) focused on community involvement in monitoring and evaluating marine resources. Two of these three sites – one in Ucunivanua Village in Verata district in Fiji, one at Dauwi Island in the Padaido Islands, West Papua, Indonesia – became pilot sites in the LMMA Network; the third, a site in Arnavon Islands in the Solomon Islands, later became an LMMA Network member.

In the late 1990s, staff from various organizations working throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific recognized that although there were many initiatives involving community-based marine conservation taking place – and that many of them overlapped – they were not necessarily sharing resources or information, and thus not learning as much as they could from each others’ successes and shortcomings. From this, they proposed bringing such isolated projects together in order to learn collectively and improve their outcomes and conservation impact.

Thus the LMMA Network was born in 2000, and grew exponentially in the years following, exciting much interest and adding many new partners and members. The Network has evolved through several phases and is embarking on a Strategic Planning process in 2010 to consider our best way forward.

For a chronological summary of the Network’s history, see Timeline.