Office Hour on the Global Ocean Legacy project of The Pew Charitable Trusts, with Imogen Zethoven

Wednesday, April 24, 2013, at 4 pm EDT / 1 pm PDT / 8 pm GMT

Live ‘Office Hour’ chat on Pew’s ongoing effort to develop very large, fully protected marine reserves worldwide: its Global Ocean Legacy project. Our guest will be Imogen Zethoven, director of Pew’s Coral Sea campaign, an effort of the Global Ocean Legacy project. Ms. Zethoven will answer your questions on the Global Ocean Legacy project in general as well as the Coral Sea Campaign in particular.

Global Ocean Legacy actively works with national governments and other partners to designate very large, fully protected marine reserves around the world. The project has been a principal driver behind the designation of the 640,000-km2 Chagos MPA (UK), the 360,000-km2 Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (US), and more recently, the 502,000-km2 no-take zone within Australia’s new 1 million-km2 Coral Sea Marine Reserve. Global Ocean Legacy is now working to establish similar large reserves in the waters of the Kermadec Islands (New Zealand) and Bermuda.

All audience members are encouraged to visit the Global Ocean Legacy project website before participating in the chat.

More about the Office Hour: This office hour is a live online "chat" conducted by typing and reading text - there is no audio component. Our office hour chats provide anopportunity for audience members to ask questions to our guests; audience members may also share their own experiences and insights with the guests and other participants. In other words there is multi-directional flow of information. All participants are able (and encouraged) to post, and all participants are able to view all posts (i.e., nothing is confidential). Inappropriate or off-topic content will be controlled.

Chat Archive

nwehner: Hi everyone! This is Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager - if you have questions for Imogen, feel free to start asking

nwehner: You'll need to login first: which you can do with your OpenChannels account at the top of this page, or with Facebook or Twitter

Imogen Zethoven: Hello everyone. It's ANZAC Day in Australia, a public holiday which honours Australia's servicemen and women. And in two weeks it'll be the 71st anniversary of the Battle of the Coral, Australia's most significant naval engagement and one of the reasons that the Coral Sea Marine Reserve was established: to recognise the historic significane of the region.

jdavis: Hi Imogen, thank you for doing this chat. Could you give a nutshell synopsis of the Global Ocean Legacy project?

Imogen Zethoven: Sure. Global Ocean Legacy is a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts which aims to protect and conserve some of the Earth's most important and unspoiled ecosystems through the establishment of very large, fully protected no-take reserves.

Kaiwahine: The link to the Coral Sea Campaign is not working for me... Can you provide some details about the area you are working to get protected, % of no-take within it, and any active items that people can help with?

nwehner: @Kaiwahine: were you looking for this page ( or a different one?

Imogen Zethoven: @Kaiwahine: Try this link: The Coral Sea we have been working in is within Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone. The Marine Reserve which was established last November is almost one million sq kms and just over half of it is fully protected.

Kaiwahine: I was trying to follow a link from here:

Kaiwahine: But the new one worked. Thanks!

Becky Shortland: I would like to hear about approaches to law enforcement that are workable in these remote ocean areas.

Imogen Zethoven: @Becky Shortland: Pew is working on developing ideas and technical approaches to improved surveillance and enforcement in large offshore marine reserves. The full spectrum from education to enforcement is critical. Remote sensing technologies are coming of age, with the increasing use of VMS and AIS and other technologies such as satellites, acoustic bouys and drones. Combined with collaboration between intelligence agencies, the aim is to be able to aprehend illegal fishing vessels and vessels that fish illegally at port.

Becky Shortland: Thank you.

Kaiwahine: Any idea when it may become law?

Imogen Zethoven: @Kaiwahine: The Coral Sea Marine Reserve management plan was tabled in Parliament on 12th March and should pass through both Houses of Parliament on June 24. The Reserve will come into operation on the water on 1 July 2014.

Kaiwahine: Thanks Imogen!

cmwahle: Hi Imogen -- Thanks for sharing your insights. Can you list some of the main challenges you fadced in creating large no take reserves and how you overcame them? Thanks, Charlie

Imogen Zethoven: @cmwahle: The main challenges were getting the political support in the face of some strong pressure to prevent a no-take reserve by offshore sport and game fishers. The public was strongly behind the campaign, but a small number of recreational fishers made a lot of noise. In the end, the government decided to go ahead with the large no-take proposal, but also accommodated recreational fishing interests. Our challenge was to demonstrate the widespread support, which we did through the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of people.

cmwahle: Interesting. Sounds very familiar. Thanks.

LeahK: What motivated so many people to be supportive?

Imogen Zethoven: @LeahK: We ran a campaign that was very positive, that focussed on the iconic value of the Coral Sea, the beauty and ecological importance of the area. We had a fantastic TV ad that people loved: featuring a talking fish. We had a strong outreach team that provided people the tools to show their support.

LeahK: That's great. I'd love to see that add. And what's happening with your neighbors in creating neighboring reserve?

Imogen Zethoven: @LeakK: here is the ad:

Imogen Zethoven: @LeahK: We are starting to work with the New Caledonian government and civil society groups on a potential marine reserve in New Caledonian waters. The Australian and New Caledonia governments with the French MPA Agency are also working together to explore colloborative management of the Coral Sea across both Australian and French/New Caledonian waters.

LeahK: Thank you - and love the ad!

JTPalazzo Jr.: Hi from Brazil, Imogen, and congrats for the extraordinary work and achievements. regarding enforcement, I wonder whether Pew has any intention of helping develop use of the newest tools such as the AUV-type robots which can spend a LOOONG time in the water and help detect illegal vessel activity. If anyone can have acce$$ to these technologies it is Pew, and to me it would complement beautifully the work being done to establish these large-scale protected areas.

Imogen Zethoven: @JTPalazzo JR: We are doing a lot of work in the waters off Easter Island to explore the most efficient and cost effective ways to protect a possible marine reserve off those waters. We're looking at all types of remote sensing technologies and smart collaboration across agencies.

JTPalazzo Jr.: Amazing. As you probably know in 2014 we´ll have the 3rd International Congress on Marine Mammals and Marine Protected Areas in Adelaide, Oz, likely a few days from the main Parks event in Sydney. It would be great to have someone from your crew there to talk about these enforcement issues... and other stuff relarted to the large-scale MPAs in the Pacific.

Imogen Zethoven: @JTPalazzo JR: We should discuss this offline. My email address is: izethoven [at]

Becky Shortland: Can you explain how the recreational fishers were "accommodated" in the no-take proposal?

Imogen Zethoven: @Becky Shortland: The government has allowed recreational fishing in just under half of the Coral Sea Marine Reserve. There is actually very little recreational fishing in the area. Most of the game fishing for black marlin that occurs off north Queensland is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Becky Shortland: Thank you, Imogen! Such exciting things going on with Pew. I'm hoping, as JT suggested, Pew can lead the way with technologies that enable us to do a better job of enforcement.

Kaiwahine: So actually, just over half the reserve is no-take?

Imogen Zethoven: @Kaiwahine: Yes. Almost 502,000 km2 is one large no-take spatial unit. There are also a couple of other small no-take zones in the Reserve, protecting a couple of important reefs.

Kaiwahine: You noted recreational fishers were accomodated. Does this mean no commercial fishing, ie. trawling is allowed anywhere within the reserve

Imogen Zethoven: @Kaiwahine: Bottom trawling was prohibited by the government throughout the entire Reserve in its original proposal. However, it has been allowed in less than one percent of the reserve in the final zoning system.

Imogen Zethoven: @Kaiwahine: The trawlers that have been accommodated have trawled for years in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and have gone across the border into the Coral Sea for years. It was disappointing that this concession was made, but it was part of the political horsetrading that occurred near the end.

cmwahle: Will the new MPA have any legal requirements for evaluating and documenting effectiveness over time, particularly as it relates to fish assemblages and fishing?

Imogen Zethoven: @cmwahle: The management plan that has been developed for the Reserve doesn't provide this level of detail. But is critical that monitoring of the effects of full protection and the effects of continued fishing in the Reserve is carried out. That is still to be determined. Pew has developed a plan for the science that should occur in the Reserve and presented this to government.

cmwahle: Thanks very much. I'd be interested in seeing anything you can share on this subject. Nice work!

LisaB: Hi Imogen, thanks very much for coming online. I’d like to ask you about the Global Ocean Legacy project in general. I see the benefit in protecting these large areas before they are degraded or subject to human pressures in the future. However, there are concerns that these very large MPAs are being placed in areas that aren’t under very much threat to begin with, and therefore aren’t helping to prevent biodiversity loss at present. I’d like to know what you think about these arguments and your response?

Imogen Zethoven: @LisaB: Thanks Lisa. You've touched on an important point. The Global Ocean Legacy project is about protecting ocean wilderness, areas that have not yet been degraded by overfishing and other threats to the ocean such as habitat loss and land-based pollution. The spread of fishing into more and more remote areas and the increase in the ability of fishers to hunt for fishing used more and more sophisticated technologies, means that we need to set aside healthy intact areas before they become degraded.

Imogen Zethoven: @LisaB: We have seen the establishment of parks on land over many decades in iconic areas such as Yellowstone, Kruger and here in Australia, Royal National Park. But we have not seen the equivalent level of protection in the ocean. Between 10-13% of land is protected, yet even with the three very large reserves that GOL helped to protect, we still have only half of one percent protected.

LisaB: Thanks Imogen. That confirms my understanding. So that is the exact goal of the project: to protect iconic, unspoiled places. And the hope is that, in parallel, we will also be working to protect the marine places most at threat through other means and projects? (I think we need to be doing both.)

Imogen Zethoven: @LisaB: Although Pew's Global Ocean Legacy project works to protect great ocean wilderness areas - and establish the first generation of these parks - we also have other projects that work to end overfishing, work to remove fishing subsidies that result in overcapacity of the fishing fleet - particularly in the EU - and to end illegal fishing globally.

LisaB: Thanks Imogen, and I wish you and the project all the best.

Imogen Zethoven: @LisaB: Thank you!

jdavis: Hi Imogen. Pew was instrumental in designation of the large Chagos MPA by the UK. Critics of that designation have suggested it blocks the return of displaced Chagossians to the archipelago. Does Pew have a position on the return of the Chagossians? Would you support some level of subsistence, or even commercial, fishing there if/when they return - even if it means the MPA will no longer be no-take?

Imogen Zethoven: @jdavis: The decision made by the UK government to establish the Chagos Marine Reserve does not block the return of displaced people. That issue is being addressed through an entirely separate process through the International Court of Justice. Pew has always acknowledged that if the Chagossians win that case and return home, that they should have the right to undertake their own fishing. (

jdavis: Is Pew active in any efforts to plan MPAs on the high seas?

Imogen Zethoven: @jdavis: Global Ocean Legacy only works within the EEZ of countries that have the capacity and interest to establish reserves. However, we are very aware that to achieve the CBD target of 10% of the ocean under protection by 2020, there will be a need to establish reserves on the high seas. The challenge is the lack of a governance regime.

Imogen Zethoven: @jdavis: That's why we are very supportive of the Global Ocean Commission which was recently launched. The Commission is looking at a common sense practical plan to establish a governance system on the high seas.

cmwahle: Thanks for all your good work. I really love the ad. I think Barry the Wrasse has a future as the mascot of the US National System of MPAs.

nwehner: @cmwahle: We agree!

Imogen Zethoven: @cmwahle: Barry's gone global!

nwehner: Thank you all for joining us - we're going to end the Office Hour now.

nwehner: Responses will be archived here (on this same URL) in about 30 minutes.

nwehner: Be sure to follow us on Twitter @OpenChannelsOrg for future event updates, or signup for the OpenChannels Weekly Update on your OpenChannels user account.

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