Over the past decade, several large MPAs have been designated in remote offshore areas. In some of these cases - like Papahānaumokuākea (US), Chagos MPA (UK), the Coral Sea Marine Reserve (Australia), and others - the areas set aside have not been under immediate or significant threat from human use. There was relatively little extraction of resources occurring, and no adjacent human populations. The ecosystems were healthy, before and after designation.
MEAM and MPA News
In April, South Africa designated its first offshore MPA: a 180,000-km2 site surrounding two small sub-Antarctic islands. Located nearly 1800 km southeast of the country's mainland, the new Prince Edward Islands MPA is intended to protect the millions of seabirds and seals that visit the islands to breed. It is also intended to contribute to the recovery of toothfish populations in the area, which were decimated by overfishing in the 1990s.
MPAs that exist in the same general region often share similar ecosystem features and management challenges. In that light, the idea behind building regional networks of MPA managers is to help these practitioners share their common experience and best practices, and to develop supportive relationships with one another.
The website of the Third International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3), scheduled from 21-27 October in Marseille and Corsica, France, is up and running at www.impac3.org. In addition to providing information on the conference, the website aims to offer content on MPA developments worldwide, as well as ocean conservation in general. To fulfill that aim, the congress organizers invite the MPA community to submit news, photos and videos reflecting the full diversity of MPAs, related programs, research, events, and techniques around the world. "IMPAC3 is a congress for and by the MPA community: we all stand to gain from pooling experience and knowledge," says Paul Gouin, who is handling communications and multimedia for IMPAC3. To share content, contact him at paul [dot] gouin [at] aires-marines [dot] fr
In 2011-2012, the LMMA Network and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community co-produced a series of information sheets for fishing communities in the Pacific Islands region (www.lmmanetwork.org/resourcecenter). The sheets describe the targeted fish species in the region, fishing methods and gear, and various community-based management measures. Among those management measures are no-take areas. Below, MPA News has excerpted some of the sheets' guidance on no-take area planning:
By Corey J. Morris and Lee-Ann V. Conrod
An oil spill inside a Canadian Marine Protected Area (MPA) and subsequent legal actions generated considerable interest recently in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The successful prosecution of the offending company illustrates how the particular circumstances of an MPA can inform such cases.
When MEAM published an article four years ago that complimented Namibia on its marine EBM efforts - including new protected areas, a regional ecosystem management project, and an emerging coastal policy (meam.net/MEAM8.html) - we received a letter from a frustrated reader. "How can you suggest Namibia is practicing ecosystem-based management when that country conducts one of the largest seal hunts in the world?" the person wrote.
Honest dialogue about what are acceptable uses of the sea and coasts can only be good. It forces us to take stock of what we know, and likewise forces us - as users and as nations - to put our desires and needs on the table. While those desires and needs vary from sector to sector and from place to place, we all share a global ambition to use marine resources and space wisely so as not to risk ecological imbalance, economic and environmental vulnerability, and conflict.
But for far too long the focus has been on resource extraction - especially fisheries - while the myriad other ways we run those aforementioned risks are seemingly ignored.
In April, the Obama Administration released its final plan to translate the US national ocean policy into specific actions. Together the actions involve:
• Supporting and promoting the ocean economy;
• Enhancing maritime safety and security;
• Improving coastal and coastal resilience;
• Supporting local and regional priorities; and
• Advancing marine science and information.
There are several software- and web-based tools available to help coastal planners anticipate the impacts of climate change and decide how best to adapt to those impacts. In the guide Tools for Coastal Climate Adaptation Planning just released by the EBM Tools Network, we provide a systematic approach for selecting the best tool for your needs among the myriad available. We suggest: