PJSJones's blog

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Posted on November 6, 2014 - 9:27am, by PJSJones

In preparation for the forthcoming World Parks Congress, the November 6th edition of Nature includes a series of comments in which "experts share their priorities for what must be done to make protected areas more effective at conserving global biodiversity". These include several contributions which are particularly relevant to marine protected areas.

Peter Jones discusses the need to Assess Governance Structures:

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Posted on October 22, 2014 - 5:05am, by PJSJones

The recent much lauded announcement that the "US designates 1.2-million-km2 MPA in which all commercial extraction is banned" begs the question - How can three MPA expansions 800-1000 km apart which exclude the main fishing grounds for stocks that are known to be severely depleted be so widely and uncritically applauded? This is not a single MPA therefore the press release claim that it represents the largest MPA designation in the world is a false one that is being wrongly reinforced through uncritical repetition. These designations represents a political-economic compromise which arguably breaches the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, at least in spirit, in that it is designed to leave the grounds for a severely over-exploited fishery open to exploitation. Then there is, of course, the question of how this remote area will be enforced.

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Posted on September 15, 2014 - 4:51am, by PJSJones

The new president of the European Union recently appointed a whole new team of commissioners, including the appointment of the Maltese politician, Karmenu Vella, as the new EU Commissioner for the Environment and Maritime and Fisheries posts (see Joan Edward's blog on this), but is the environment already sinking down his agenda?

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Posted on August 26, 2014 - 5:21am, by PJSJones

Further to the recent blog about how coal scuttles coral hopes, see this ABC News Program about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) and Abbot Point dredging impacts. The program features MPAG case study contributor Jon Day criticizing the Australian government's misrepresentation of the scientific advice of the GBRMP Authority, from which he recently resigned.

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Posted on July 14, 2014 - 8:16am, by PJSJones

By Dr Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London (P.J.Jones [at] ucl.ac.uk)

It is increasingly recognised that marine ecosystems that have a higher diversity of species are more resilient to impacts from non-native species, climate change, etc., but why is there a link between diversity and resilience and how can marine protected areas (MPAs) be made more effective in building resilience?

Species provide a variety of functional roles in ecosystems, such as nutrient recycling, population control, etc. The higher the diversity of functional groups and the higher the diversity of species and the population sizes within each functional group, the more resilient the ecosystem is, in that it can remain stable in the face of factors that could otherwise perturb it. This is because one species can replace the role of another species in the same functional group if that species is depleted by disease, over-harvesting, etc. Also, if environmental conditions change, a species that previously appeared to be redundant, in that it has no apparent functional role, can be better adapted to the new conditions and thereby is able to adopt a functional role, replacing the role of a species which is less well adapted to the new conditions. In these ways the ecosystem is able to remain in a relatively stable state, including the capacity to adapt to changing conditions. This capacity for resilience is increasingly recognised as being important, as the pressures related to human activities which can perturb marine ecosystems, e.g. greenhouse gas emissions and species introductions, increase, potentially shifting ecosystems to alternative states that provide fewer ecosystem services, e.g. food production, greenhouse gas sinks, genetic resources and tourism value.

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Posted on June 6, 2014 - 3:18am, by PJSJones

By Dr Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London (P.J.Jones [at] ucl.ac.uk)

The most recent issue of MEAM features a series of interesting perspectives on different approaches for addressing scale mis-matches between individual MPAs and the wider network or ecosystem-based management (EBM) initiative of which they are a component. The challenges of such approaches are further explored in Tundi's Take, and this blog further explores these perspectives and this take, drawing on my recent book on Governing Marine Protected Areas: resilience through diversity (Jones 2014). The essence of the challenges of scale mis-matches is that an MPA network and/or EBM initiative may have wider-scale, longer-term objectives, whereas an individual MPA may be strongly influenced by local economic gain and shorter-term objectives, including the potential for disproportionate influence or 'capture' by specific commercial sectors and community groups. These challenges are exacerbated where different MPAs are connected by the wide ranges of many fish populations and by the even wider ranges of fishermen that harvest such fish populations.

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Posted on April 10, 2014 - 3:47am, by PJSJones

By Dr Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London (P.J.Jones [at] ucl.ac.uk)

Recent developments and assessments indicate that the tensions between achieving good environmental status and blue growth in Europe's seas are increasing.

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Posted on March 29, 2014 - 4:42am, by PJSJones

By Dr Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London (P.J.Jones [at] ucl.ac.uk)

A recent article highlights that the "Great Barrier Reef and Indigenous heritage laws face 'one-stop shop' threat", in that Australia's Environment Department is proposing to cut 'green tape' that can hinder economic development proposals. "This could mean decision-making for the dumping of materials into the Great Barrier Reef marine park being stripped from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and handed to the Queensland government." The proposal to dump dredge spoil in the GBRMP to expand Abbot Point coal terminal is a key driver of this initiative.

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Posted on March 12, 2014 - 6:59am, by PJSJones

By Dr Peter JS Jones, Dept of Geography, University College London (P.J.Jones [at] ucl.ac.uk)

An interesting Response by Charles Sheppard (2014, Marine Policy 47, 85–86) to the article by Peter Harris: Fortress: Safe haven or home? The Chagos MPA in political context (2014, Marine Policy 46, 19-21). Charles  Sheppard attempts to annul the marriage between science and politics which Peter Harris' paper has reported. This left me pondering some questions.

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