Well-developed bioregional objectives will play an important role in achieving the vision for a network of marine protected areas in the Northern Shelf. Nesting under each of the six network goals, the network objectives identify and focus management priorities, provide a context for resolving issues, a rationale for decisions and a means for assessing network effectiveness. Like goals, objectives describe a desired future state for a particular value. They are, however, more specific and concrete than goals.
The objectives, along with the vision and goals, lay the foundation for network planning, and were developed with the scale of the network in mind. The objectives for the network will inform objective development for individual marine protected areas. Consistent with the Strategy, objectives that nest under Goal 1 are of primary importance in network design.
Network objectives were developed by the Marine Protected Area Technical Team (MPATT) with input from other governments, stakeholders, academics and practitioners.
GOAL 1: TO PROTECT AND MAINTAIN MARINE BIODIVERSITY, ECOLOGICAL REPRESENTATION AND SPECIAL NATURAL FEATURES.
||Contribute to the conservation of the diversity of species, populations, and ecological communities, and their viability in changing environments.
||Protect natural trophic structures and food webs, including populations of upper-level predators, key forage species, nutrient importing and exporting species, and structure-providing species.
||Conserve areas of high biological diversity (species, habitat and genetic diversity).
||Protect representative areas of every marine habitat in the bioregion.
||Contribute to protection of rare, unique, threatened, and/or endangered species and their habitats.
||Conserve ecologically significant areas associated with geological features and enduring/recurring oceanographic features.
||Contribute to conservation of areas important for the life history of resident and migratory species.
GOAL 2: TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION OF FISHERY RESOURCES AND THEIR HABITATS.
||Maintain or improve stock stability and productivity of species important for commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal fisheries.
||Maintain within protected areas the natural size and age structure of fished populations.
||Conserve habitat important to ensuring that the productive capacity and harvestable biomass of commercial, recreational, and Aboriginal fisheries species are maintained within healthy and resilient ecological limits.
GOAL 3: TO MAINTAIN AND FACILITATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR TOURISM AND RECREATION.
||Conserve sites compatible with, and of high value for sustainable tourism and recreation.
GOAL 4: TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIAL, COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC CERTAINTY AND STABILITY.
||Enable economic development opportunities that are compatible with achievement of conservation objectives contained with Goal 1.
||Maintain or enhance the long-term productivity, resilience and reliability of marine ecosystem goods and services.
||Support opportunities for local communities to benefit socially, culturally and economically from marine protected areas.
||Strengthen participation and representation of communities and stakeholders in design, establishment and monitoring of the network.
||Ensure that all marine protected areas have clearly defined objectives and effective and adaptive management including monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
||Support effective MPA network governance that includes monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
||Establish collaborative approaches to surveillance and compliance monitoring.
GOAL 5: TO CONSERVE AND PROTECT TRADITIONAL USE, CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES.
||Increase awareness and understanding of First Nations use and stewardship of resources and territories.
||Represent marine areas of high cultural or historical value.
||Contribute to conservation of species significant to First Nations and coastal communities including those important for cultural use and food security.
GOAL 6: TO PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, EDUCATION AND AWARENESS.
||Increase awareness, understanding and stewardship of the marine environment.
||Protect reference sites to support research and management.
||Monitor and report on effectiveness of management actions across the network.
 Specific representation targets, design strategies, and scales will be further defined, taking into consideration national and international best practices and commitments (e.g., Aichi Target 11).