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MEAM

It was May 2011 and at the International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria, Canada, a special panel discussion was underway on global negotiations for ocean issues. The panelists had many years' experience in international policymaking, and they talked about the advances being made - or not being made - on issues ranging from whaling to climate change and more. When it was time for the audience to ask questions, a young woman stood up.

"You have talked about the frustratingly slow progress in international negotiations on ocean issues," the young woman said to the panel. "In light of the instrumental role that social media tools like Facebook and Twitter played in the recent 'Arab Spring' movement in the Middle East, could the same tools be harnessed somehow to advance ocean negotiations?"

MEAM

In the Philippines, the Coastal Conservation Education Foundation (CCEF) runs programs to sustain coastal and marine biodiversity and improve the quality of life for local communities (www.coast.ph). CCEF uses its website and social networking platforms (YouTube and Facebook) to communicate its work to the general public, both in the Philippines and abroad.

MEAM

The December 2011/January 2012 issue of MEAM examined how detailed mapping of the sea floor has informed marine EBM (MEAM 5:3). Because benthic habitat maps show where particular plants and animals are likely to live, such maps can be invaluable for conserving certain species or for assigning specific uses to compatible areas.

MEAM

[Editor's note: Jennifer McCann is a principal investigator and management team member of Rhode Island's Ocean Special Area Management Plan. She directed a training workshop in May 2011 on marine spatial planning in Rhode Island.]

By Jen McCann, Rhode Island Sea Grant Program and the University of Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center

MEAM

Draft plan released for US national ocean policy

A draft plan for implementing a national ocean policy for the US was released for public comment in January by the interagency National Ocean Council. The draft plan comprises more than 50 action items, with each action including milestones, responsible agencies, and the expected timeframe for completion. The structure is designed to provide a clear layout of what will be accomplished when, and by whom.

The draft plan is the latest step in the National Ocean Council's effort to develop - and to assist federal, state, and local agencies with implementing - a national ocean policy consistent with priorities set by President Barack Obama in 2010 (MEAM 4:1). The comment period for the draft implementation plan ends on 27 February 2012. To view the draft plan or provide comments, go to: www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans

MEAM

Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.

By Sarah Carr

A year ago in this column, I remarked on a problem for the field of coastal and marine EBM tools. Namely, although the number and functionality of these geospatial tools had grown rapidly, the complexity of the tools often made it difficult for managers to use them.

MPA News

In the field of marine protected areas, an unfortunate reality is that many sites are "paper parks". Existing on paper - in laws and on maps - but failing to provide effective management and enforcement, these sites offer the promise of robust protection without the reality of it. Budget shortfalls, faulty planning, insufficient community support...there are many reasons why an MPA may be a paper park. Overcoming the reasons for failure and steering these sites to a functional state pose big challenges for the MPA community.

MPA News

In recent years, ecologist Joachim Claudet has been at the forefront of MPA science. His studies of European marine reserves - which found that the older and larger a marine reserve is, the greater the density of large fish inside it is - have held important implications for MPA network design and fisheries management ("Older and larger reserves have more large fish" in Special Section, MPA News 10:11).

MPA News

In late November, the Australian Government released a draft plan to designate what could be the world's largest marine protected area. Covering 989,842 km2, the proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve would be located in Australian waters of the Coral Sea. The MPA would extend from the eastward boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the edge of the Australian EEZ, where it would border the waters of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.

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