Targets for marine conservation have been important since 1998, when 1605 scientists from around the world signed a call for governments to protect 20% of the world’s seas from all threats by 2020. Since then, there have been several formal targets for MPA coverage, most significantly the Convention on Biological Diversity’s ‘Aichi target’ that at least 10% of the world’s seas should be effectively conserved through systems of MPAs by 2020. The achievement of such targets has increasingly been progressed through the designation of giant MPAs, often surrounding islands in remote oceans, i.e. vast remote MPAs. The first VRMPA was the 340,000 km2 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, designated in 2000, as part of Bill Clinton’s departing environmental legacy, and larger than all of America’s national parks combined. This VRMPA was later included in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, this 2006 designation by George Bush building on the previous one. Initially open to bottom trawling, all fishing throughout the PMNM was banned in 2011, as whilst ‘bigger is better’, it is also considered that ‘no-take is best’. The race was on.
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As an update on the proposed 215,000 acre Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA), the Ocean CREST Alliance conservation efforts and the construction of the OCA research and education facility here in the beautiful Bahamas we offer the latest news.
In a new paper published June 1 in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, scientists argue that environmental managers must broaden their focus from routine ecological monitoring to include social and economic factors if we are to protect ecosystems before they cross undesired tipping points.
A fashion for otter fur in the 19th Century has given researchers insight into how social changes can be a warning for ecosystems on the brink of collapse. In a new paper published today in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, scientists argue that environmental managers need to broaden their focus from routine ecological monitoring to include social and economic factors if we are to protect ecosystems before it is too late.
The sustainable management of marine ecosystems involves a multitude of stakeholders, across various sectors. The vastness of the ocean and the potentially diverging interests of stakeholders involved - including different government departments, the private business sector and civil society - are not necessarily reflected in ‘traditional’, sector-based regulation and management mechanisms. This poses a challenge to an efficient use of ocean resources, and the conservation of its ecological integrity and functioning
Integrated Oceans Management is an approach that brings together relevant actors from government, business and civil society and across sectors of human activity (e.g. fishing, mining, shipping or tourism), to collaborate jointly towards a sustainable future of our ocean environment (‘ocean’ referring to marine and oastal areas).
As a Project Fellow at SeaPlan, I am interested in the conversation among MSP practitioners over the pragmatic utility of ecosystem services tools for “real life” application. I recently looked at the role of modeling tools and platforms that quantitatively categorize zones or ecosystems services in ocean planning. This research led me to develop a broad overview of available valuation modeling tools and to detail some interesting example applications. I thought others would be interested, so SeaPlan is sharing them here as a series of three short case studies followed by the overview. First in this series is a case study summarizing how two of the most widely-used modeling tools, InVEST and Marxan, were applied by West Coast Aquatic (WCA) for the West Vancouver Island marine spatial plans.
The book Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity (Jones PJS 2014) is now available in paperback, after very good sales of the hardback version around the world. The price of the paperback version is £22 or $40 with the discount code DC361 when purchasing directly from Routledge. See www.tinyurl.com/GoverningMPAs to purchase from Routledge at this discount and read reviews, including more recent reviews in Nature and the International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law.
Another analysis of despair by a fisheries scientist (Kenchington T, in press*) questioning whether we should have MPAs: fishing removes top predators which are migratory, therefore fishing still impacts MPAs through fish migrations and trophic cascade effects, therefore we need to choose between pristine MPAs & seafood production! Maybe address wider ecosystem impacts of fishing, e.g. through increased selectivity, maximum size limits? Also, MPAs can still achieve a lot if not pristine and not large enough to match the wide range of top-predators?
An interesting paper (Fletcher et al., in press) which argues that neoliberal faith in REDD+ schemes for forest conservation, on the basis that they represent market-based initiatives, is misplaced, as it is not feasible for REDD+ payments to fully offset the short-term economic benefits of natural resource extraction that are foregone. There is increasing focus on extending REDD+ out to sea as Blue Carbon schemes for mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass, for which MPAs are often vehicles.
Overfishing, climate change, habitat destruction, and pollution remain major threats to the world’s ocean. But amidst all that there is some seriously good ocean conservation news worth celebrating. So, to continue the tradition started last year with listing 14 Ocean Conservation Wins of 2014, here’s a rundown for 2015 that will hopefully fill you with #OceanOptimism. These wins represent the diligent efforts of organizations and individuals too numerous to list, so let’s just start with a blanket shoutout to all of #TeamOcean for a great year.
Local conservation efforts are important to restoring and protecting coral reefs. However, if we don’t halt climate change those efforts will not be enough to save them. That’s why marine biologists and ocean lovers have their eyes on the COP 21 climate negotiations in Paris this week.
Last year, I co-authored a New York Times op-ed entitled “We Can Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs.” The premise was that we must not use inaction on global emissions reductions as an excuse to postpone local conservation actions. Dr. Jeremy Jackson and I wrote, “We need to stop all forms of overfishing, establish large and effectively enforced marine protected areas, and impose strict regulations on coastal development and pollution, while at the same time working to reduce fossil fuel emissions driving climate change.”