News and Updates

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Posted on September 15, 2014 - 9:26am, by nwehner

Via Gulf News

"Abu Dhabi: A study of Arabian Gulf fish populations by a university student in Abu Dhabi could soon lend insightful clues to marine conservationists around the world.

The project, which looks into how fish species adapt to hot and saline Arabian Gulf waters, as well as how they mix with one another, is one of a handful of studies that delve into how fish populations get along in the region. It is being conducted by Remi Ketchum, a final-year student at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

“Marine species play such a key role in supporting coastal populations. And to people familiar with underwater environments, they offer a real glimpse into biodiversity. We need to understand better how they can be conserved, and this is why I want to see how fish in the waters of the region survive,” Ketchum told Gulf News."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 15, 2014 - 9:18am, by nwehner

Via The Sydney Morning Herald

"Over the past 18 months, both federal and NSW governments have abandoned protective marine zones or sanctuaries. Seemingly throwing aside decades of previous research and consultation, the federal government has just announced that it has appointed a new expert panel to review the "management plans and balance of zoning" of Commonwealth marine reserves. This is despite more than 95 per cent of the 750,000 public and stakeholder submissions to the federal government since 2011 supporting greater protection of the marine environment.

On Thursday this week, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, issued a press release "delivering on its election commitment for an independent review of Commonwealth marine reserves" and announced the chairs and terms of reference for scientific and advisory panels. The release states, tellingly, "we have asked the expert panels to consider what management arrangements will best protect our marine environment and accommodate the many activities that Australians love to enjoy in our oceans"."

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Posted on September 15, 2014 - 4:51am, by PJSJones

The new president of the European Union recently appointed a whole new team of commissioners, including the appointment of the Maltese politician, Karmenu Vella, as the new EU Commissioner for the Environment and Maritime and Fisheries posts (see Joan Edward's blog on this), but is the environment already sinking down his agenda?

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 12, 2014 - 9:55am, by nwehner

Via Paul Rose

"On 10th September in Parliament, Zac Goldsmith MP, Stanley Johnson, the RSPB, the Blue Marine Foundation and the Pew Trusts presented a pamphlet calling on the Government to commit to creating Marine Protected Areas around three of its Overseas Territories: Pitcairn, Ascension, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 12, 2014 - 9:46am, by nwehner

Via Lompoc Record

"Experts presented a win-win scenario at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, breaking down how the first months of a trial incentive program to slow cargo ships in the Santa Barbara Channel has made the area's marine highway a cleaner and safer place for people and wildlife while maintaining industry support.

"It's simply the right thing to do," said T.L. Garrett, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association. "I don't think there's anybody in this room, and there's not too many people I know anywhere, who think improving air quality and protecting marine species isn't of the utmost importance."

The program, spearheaded by a coalition of government, nonprofit and industry groups, kicked off the incentive program July 1 after years of preparation and planning. This trial program offers six shipping companies $2,500 for every verified trip one of its participating ships makes through the Santa Barbara Channel while traveling at 12 knots or less. That's a marked reduction from the average 14 to 18 knots that ships usually travel through the channel."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 11, 2014 - 12:05pm, by tsaofan

From Bangor Daily News

Researchers using a remotely controlled submersible vehicle this summer found “dense hanging gardens” of coral in the Schoodic Ridges region of the gulf, southeast of Mount Desert Island. The formations covered vertical walls about 25 to 40 feet high that were found about 200 feet below the water’s surface...

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 11, 2014 - 8:55am, by nwehner

Via GMA News

"Despite its abundant underwater natural resources, the Philippines has found it next to impossible to implement protective measures because there has never been a comprehensive collection of information—until now.

The Philippine Marine Protected Area (MPA) Database, the largest and most comprehensive database on Philippine MPAs to date, was formally launched last September 8, 2014. The database provides easy access to basic information such as MPA size, location, and management effectiveness, as well as current and historical monitoring data for the country’s 1,815 MPAs (as of September 8).

The map will enable policymakers, resource managers, and local communities to make sound decisions regarding their conservation and management efforts."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 9, 2014 - 3:21pm, by nwehner

Via The Institute for European Studies

"The Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel kindly invites you to a Policy Forum on Tuesday 16 September 2014, 12:00h-14:00h, entitled "Blue Energy and Maritime Spatial Planning: opportunities and challenges".

In its communication released the 20th of January 2014 on "Blue Energy - Action needed to deliver on the potential of ocean energy in European seas and oceans by 2020 and beyond", the Commission highlighted that the development of ocean renewables provides the opportunity to contribute to employment, innovation, climate and energy objectives. However, it also pointed out various challenges remaining such as the technology costs, the lack of certainty in the EU's grid planning process or the need to improve the understanding of the environmental impacts of these technologies. Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is one of the tools to face these challenges and the adoption of the new Directive for MSP should play an important role for the development of Blue Energy and other industries as well as the coexistence of the different activities that can take place in the Sea.

Some of the questions the Policy Forum seeks to address are:

  • What are the challenges to build the ocean renewables industry?
  • What are the specific challenges of ocean energy?
  • What are the issues to be considered in relation to the sustainable development of Blue Energy?
  • What is the role of Maritime Spatial Planning for the development of the ocean renewables?

The expert panel that will consider the policy challenges outlined above consists of the following speakers:

  • Matthieu Ballu, DG MARE of the European Commission.
  • Sian George, President of the European Ocean Energy Association, Board Member of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and chair of the Advisory Board of strategic initiative of ocean energy.
  • Frank Maes, Professor of Public International Law and research director of the Maritime Institute at Ghent University."
Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 8, 2014 - 2:51pm, by nwehner

Via Scoop

"Conservation Spokesman Dr Nick Smith and Primary Industries Spokesman Nathan Guy today announced a re-elected National Government will introduce two recreational fishing parks covering areas of the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds as part of a wider reform of marine protection legislation.

“This is a first for New Zealand. We are going to create a new concept of recreational fishing parks in a new Marine Protected Areas Act. These areas will be reserved predominantly for recreational fishing and will enhance the opportunity for Kiwi families to catch fish in areas like the inner Hauraki Gulf and the Marlborough Sounds,” Dr Smith says.

“These proposed in-shore parks are in two of the most popular areas for recreational fishing in the country. They would be managed for a range of recreational activities by an advisory board of local users, and would exclude most commercial fishing,” he says."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on September 8, 2014 - 2:35pm, by nwehner

Via The Federal Register

"With this final rule, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expands the boundary of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS or sanctuary), clarifies the correlation between TBNMS regulations and Indian tribal fishing activities, and revises the corresponding sanctuary terms of designation. The new boundary for TBNMS increases the size of the sanctuary from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles and extends protection to 47 additional known historic shipwrecks of national significance. NOAA has prepared a final environmental impact statement for this action."