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 Nick Wehner at nwehner [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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By Kristine Cherry, GSAA Coordinator

In the realm of ocean, coastal, and natural resource management, complex and diverse authorities, responsibilities, and interests make increasingly clear the need for partnerships that bring together decision-makers and invested stakeholders outside of traditional formal or legal interactions. But how do you make partnerships work effectively? The solutions are as diverse as the people involved and places in which partnerships develop, so I am pleased to share with you the model that has been established by the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance.

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Posted on March 18, 2015 - 8:03am, by PJSJones

The UK Government's budget statement rarely gives cheer to marine conservationists, but this year was different, as buried in p.97 of the red book were the words:

"2.259 Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Pitcairn – The government intends to proceed with designation of a MPA around Pitcairn. This will be dependent upon reaching agreement with NGOs on satellite monitoring and with authorities in relevant ports to prevent landing of illegal catch, as well as on identifying a practical naval method of enforcing the MPA at a cost that can be accommodated within existing departmental expenditure limits"

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When you land on Montserrat, your passport gets stamped with a shamrock. That is the first sign that the island has a bit of magic. The air is warm, but the people are warmer. This video introduces some of the faces and vistas of this wondrous place, the second island where the Waitt Institute has launched its Blue Halo Initiative (see press release).

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Establishing the geographic boundaries of your planning area sets more than simply the physical size of your planning process. Stakeholders, partner agencies, and issues to solve will each change as your planning area—the area you have management authority for—changes. It’s important to clarify your planning area boundaries at the outset of the process. Beyond the planning area, there may be areas outside your jurisdiction that may have an impact on your planning efforts. You will want to assess what’s happening outside your boundaries as well. In some cases, this expanded assessment occurs with other states, or other regions. In some planning areas, this will require international cooperation. Here, we read about the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership’s efforts with coastal and marine spatial planning, as a region working with international neighbors.

About the Author: Aurora M. Justiniano, PhD., is a conservation planner with The Nature Conservancy in Puerto Rico, where she helps coordinate the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership.

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A New Wave of Experts

When the National Ocean Council suggested Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning as a tool to achieve the National Ocean Policy, many were excited for a more integrated approach to coastal decision making. This decision was based on hundreds of published reports and articles stating the benefits of coastal and marine planning and the need for its implementation in the United States. While these articles and reports certainly tell us why we should use more integrated planning, very few tell us how this actually works, and what the process actually is.

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VERY EXCITING NEWS! The Waitt Institute has expanded its Blue Halo Initiative to Montserrat and Curaçao, building on the recent success in Barbuda. The new partnerships with these two innovative island governments and communities will help envision, design, and implement sustainable ocean policies for their waters.

With the launches of Blue Halo Montserrat and Blue Halo Curaçao the Waitt Institute has not only tripled the number of partner islands to which we offer our toolkit for ocean management, but also increased the amount of ocean area where we support sustainable policies to 38,700 km2.

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More than 90% of the world’s 36 million fishers operate in small-scale fisheries—many of which are in developing countries. From sea to plate, these small-scale fisheries support more than 100 million jobs across the supply chain and produce half of the world’s seafood for local and global markets.

But as the world’s population increases and the demand for seafood rises, the supply for wild caught fish is plummeting. As a result, many small-scale fishing communities face job and food security threats and unfortunately lack access to the tools they need to sustainably manage their fisheries.

Developed by Environmental Defense Fund, a Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (FISHE) equips fishermen and marine scientists with a swift, low-cost and highly effective method with which to assess and manage fisheries that lack sufficient fishing data.

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Part 3: Causes and consequences of tipped coral reef ecosystems in Hawai‘i

In our previous blog post, we described some of the key attributes of threshold-based management that have successfully prevented ecosystems from crossing tipping points or have helped restore previously tipped systems. In this blog, we present research from our case study region of Hawai‘i, where many coral reef ecosystems may be nearing critical tipping points, and others have already crossed thresholds into algae-dominated states. Our team of social and ecological researchers is working to highlight the main drivers of change in Hawai‘i’s reef ecosystems and provide marine managers with the information and tools necessary to maintain resilient reefs.

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Posted on January 15, 2015 - 12:49pm, by PJSJones

In relation to the Nature paper "Predicting climate-driven regime shifts versus rebound potential in coral reefs"

The finding from this paper that “Reefs within no-take marine reserves were no more likely to recover than reefs in fished areas” could be related to tendency for marine reserves in Seychelles to be designated in shallower areas that are under pressure from fishing, nutrient loading, etc, rather than in deeper, more remote residual areas with lower water temperatures that are not under pressure? The real worry with this paper is that readers will go away with the take-home message that marine reserves do not promote resilience/recovery, when this finding is more an artifact of the criteria for siting marine reserve designations in the Seychelles? If it is accepted that structural complexity, density of juvenile corals and herbivorous fishes, and low nutrient loads are attributes that promote resilience/recovery, surely marine reserves have the potential to promote such attributes and thereby recovery from coral bleaching. The lack of impact of marine reserves in this study could be more to do with location of marine reserves in more used areas and their lack of effectiveness in reducing impacts of such uses, rather than marine reserves not having the potential to promote resilience/recovery, but my worry is that such caveats will not be considered in the message that people may hear, especially when findings are transferred from the Seychelles to the Great Barrier Reef...

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The Dos Mares Journal is the informative and educative magazine of Dos Mares.

Dos Mares was created in January 2013, to promote marine research in Central America, with the collaboration of the international scientific community and interested organizations.

Through the Dos Mares Journal I want to disseminate the activities, achievements and values of marine science and marine protected areas in order to facilitate the scientific cooperation between marine scientist of Central America and the global scientific community.You should enter your email address to subscribe to updates in the top right of the journal to ensure a complete reception every week.