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Posted on June 27, 2014 - 11:13am, by cehler

By Matt Brookhart, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Our nation’s system of national marine sanctuaries protect some of America’s most significant marine and Great Lakes assets – from vibrant coral reefs and kelp forests to historic shipwrecks and extraordinarily productive fishing grounds.  In doing so, NOAA economists estimate that across all our sanctuaries, about $6 billion is generated each year in local coastal and ocean-dependent activities, such as diving, tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and research.  This demonstrates that sanctuaries are an essential component of our coastal economies, as well as the long-term conservation of our oceans. 

Throughout the 1990s, several new national marine sanctuaries were designated either by NOAA or by Congress; so many, in fact, that NOAA decided to put a hold on the consideration of new sanctuaries so that we could focus on best managing the growing sanctuary system within our limited resources.

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Posted on March 14, 2013 - 2:01pm, by cehler

By Charles N. Ehler, Ocean Visions Consulting, Paris, France, charles.ehler [at] me.com

Concerned about the effects of rising sea level?  You should be, but did you know that about half (51.3%) of the total area of the 152 coastal countries of the world is underwater already?  That’s right.  When the total area of each country, including its existing or potential claim to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and its total area (EEZ + land area) are compared—about half is underwater. Thirty-five countries are almost completely (< 90%) underwater already. The opportunity to gain additional jurisdiction over marine areas through extended continental shelf claims under the United Nations Law of the Sea could increase the size of the marine areas of some countries even further.  This is a real challenge for marine spatial planning—and not an April Fool’s joke!

Here’s a list of those countries:

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Posted on January 1, 2013 - 9:53pm, by cehler

By Charles N. Ehler, Ocean Visions Consulting, charles.ehler [at] me.com

The New Year is a good time to pause and assess where we are and where we might go over the next 10-12 years in the rapidly developing field of integrated marine spatial planning (MSP).

Integrated MSP is alive and well in many parts of the world and continues to grow at astonishing speed. Strategic debates about the long-term future of marine areas are being held in various fora throughout the world. Today almost 10% of the world’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs) are covered by government-approved marine spatial plans—an impressive accomplishment that has been reached only over the past 10-12 years. Over the next 10-12 years marine spatial plans will easily cover more than a third of marine waters under national jurisdiction.

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