OpenChannels has a team of dedicated bloggers addressing targeted aspects of ocean planning and management, including communication, technology, ocean uses, and more. Our bloggers are experts in the field, drawing from their own knowledge and experience.

The OpenChannels community can also benefit from your knowledge and experience. We appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this field and welcome the use of OpenChannels for sharing these views. Do you have a perspective on ocean planning you would like to share? We'll help you do that right now: just click the button above and follow the prompts. If you are interested in blogging but have questions, please email Raye Evrard at raye [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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By Samantha Murray, Director of the Ocean Conservancy's Pacific Program

I’ve recently returned from the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Marseille, France. The experience of meeting so many different kinds of people, all equally passionate about the ocean, has inspired me. It’s planted a desire to follow up and exchange marine protected area stories—and recipes—from California with those from around the world.

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Posted on October 30, 2013 - 10:27am, by JGardner

By Julie Gardner, Dovetail Consulting, jgardner [at]

The closer our connection to special places, the bigger our stake in their future. But the ability to ensure these special places are protected is often vested in far away powers. As Saya Masso, a Councillor in the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation said recently, “We’re the ones who have to bathe in the river and eat the fish in it.”

Masso was explaining why his people oppose the BC Government’s issuance of a mining permit in a Tribal Park in Clayoquot Sound, on Vancouver Island’s spectacular Pacific coast. Tribal Parks, Wild Spirit Places, Cultural and Natural Areas – these are all First Nations designations for lands and waters that they are striving to protect in their traditional territories. The First Nations want to shelter these areas from developments that threaten both ecosystems and customary ways of life, while (usually) keeping them open to sustainable economic activities such as wilderness tourism.

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Posted on October 25, 2013 - 3:23pm, by emdesanto

By Elizabeth M. De Santo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Franklin & Marshall College

Following the recent online debate between Professors Roberts and Hilborn and the announcement of the Pitcairn MPA at IMPAC3 in Marseille this week, many questions remain about why we are conserving the oceans in a “grab as much as you can” approach, as well as whether or not the current path we’re on will actually achieve long-term conservation goals, and how we can do a better job. Stop for a moment and consider the fact that 22 of the world’s 28 largest MPAs have been designated since 2000, and 19 of these were designated just since 2007 (not including Pitcairn or the Cook Islands and New Caledonia).

Posted on October 24, 2013 - 9:36am, by caselle

By Jenn Caselle, University of California, Santa Barbara

Without a doubt, the International Marine Protected Areas Congress has evolved over the years. The first Congress was held in 2005 in Geelong, Australia, with the second occurring in 2009 in Washington, D.C. Today we find ourselves in Marseille, France for the third convening—and the progress that has been made over this relatively short period has been tremendous.


By Sarah Sikich, Director of Coastal Resources, Heal the Bay

Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s director of coastal resources, is part of a special delegation of California ocean experts participating this week in a global conference about marine protected areas. Here’s her first report from France.

I’ve now spent 24 hours in Marseille, which has been a whirlwind of fresh baked baguettes, walks along windy cobblestone streets, and engaging discussions about ocean conservation at the 2013 International Marine Protected Areas Congress.

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By Samantha Murray of Ocean Conservancy, Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay, and Stefanie Sekich-Quinn of Surfrider

If you’ve been lucky enough to go for a dive, surf, or kayak at the Channel Islands, it’s hard not to be captivated by the cathedral kelp forests, large fish cruising the reef, and clean waves breaking under your surfboard. These Islands, along with special places throughout the entire California coast, enjoy protections that allow the marine wildlife inside to thrive. Like underwater parks, the marine protected areas (MPAs for short) here act as safe havens for marine life and giant kelp forests that call southern California’s coastline home. And, the good news is that globally, MPAs are on the rise. There are over 6,000 MPAs worldwide, yet less than 2% of our oceans are protected.

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Posted on September 11, 2013 - 1:04pm, by hrindge

By Holly Rindge, Communications Manager, California Ocean Science Trust

As we sail out of Moss Landing Harbor, there are no familiar sounds of sea lions or crashing waves.  The early morning fog seems to have muted even the seabirds.   The swells are small today, but that is little comfort to my queasy stomach. I’m onboard the F/V Donna Kathleen with scientists from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), California Sea Grant (CSG) and the Fisheries & Conservation Biology Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML).  

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By Laurence Mee, SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, laurence.mee [at]

As Director of an independent marine institute, I have become used to having to balance the books. With the help of innovative and hard-working staff and a savvy Board and Council we have managed to do this well in the past five years without relying on ‘hand outs’. But I must admit, we all have to pedal harder and harder to keep up with the peloton and they are all doing the same. We have come to accept this as a ‘fact of life’ and encourage others to do the same. I have had my doubts about the sustainability of this lifestyle we have all adopted for some time and a recent paper that the economist Bob Costanza sent me has given me even more food for thought. The paper, titled Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress is published in Ecological Economics by a team led by Ida Kubiszewski.

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By Laurence Mee, SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, laurence.mee [at]

Today an important piece of science news has been buried amongst the shocking revelations of chemical weapons used in Syria and the more trivial but captivating stories of human brain tissue grown in a test tube. A paper in the journal Nature by Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie from Scripps Institution of Oceanography has assembled and tested evidence explaining the seemingly erratic nature of global temperature changes in the past half-century.