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Posted on June 26, 2014 - 9:27am, by emdesanto

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

The Aspen Institute has just released a new report from the Ocean Community Strategy Roundtable, focusing on several areas as potential keys to the success of new conservation models being used to scale marine protection efforts. In particular, it focuses on developing government-led change through public-private-partnerships (PPPs), the role of corporations with shared agendas in promoting conservation, and new subcontractor models of conservation implementation.

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

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is currently meeting to determine the legality of the UK’s 2010 declaration of a marine reserve around the Chagos archipelago. This is the latest in a suite of legal arguments undertaken since the islands’ local population was evicted to make way for the leasing of Diego Garcia to the US to build a military base. I would like to explain why the current case matters, not re-hash the rights and wrongs of the Chagossian eviction and US occupation, nor whether the “special relationship” used the MPA as a means of keeping the zone a de facto militarized space, nor am I reopening the debate on the pros and cons of large MPAs. Rather, the PCA arbitration presents new and worrying implications for former colonial powers designating large swaths of their overseas territories as conservation areas, and it adds yet another layer of negativity to the Chagos MPA that will have repercussions on future designations. 

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Posted on January 30, 2014 - 1:55pm, by emdesanto

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

In a recent Nature News piece, Daniel Cressey discusses the sustainability concerns posed by fish aggregating devices (FADs), drawing on the work of Davies et al., who examined FADs in the Indian Ocean. This is an interesting phenomenon – fishermen increase their catches by floating rafts or other structures that attract fish (and signal their location via radio transmitters), which works because fish are naturally attracted to and congregate under these sheltering structures. However, FADs are poorly regulated, add to overfishing, and their impacts on ecosystems are unknown.

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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).

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