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Defining ecologically or biologically significant areas in the open oceans and deep seas: Analysis, tools, resources and illustrations

Citation Information: GOBI; A background document for the CBD expert workshop on scientific and technical guidance on the use of biogeographic classification systems and identification of marine areas beyond national jurisdiction in need of protection, Ottawa, Canada, 29 September – 2 October 2009

Date: 2009

Authors: Jeff Ardron, Daniel Dunn, Colleen Corrigan, Kristina Gjerde, Patrick Halpin, Jake Rice, Edward Vanden Berghe, Marjo Vierros

Executive Summary: The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted in 2008 scientific criteria for identifying ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) in need of protection. The application of these criteria will specifically focus on the open oceans and deep seas, which encompass regions of the Earth that we have only started to explore. While much scientific discovery lies ahead, available information and current and emerging methodologies already allow us to begin identifying oceanic features that are likely of particular ecological or biological importance.

In order to facilitate this process, the CBD COP decided to convene an expert workshop to review and synthesize progress on the identification of areas beyond national jurisdiction which meet the adopted CBD scientific criteria. There are an increasing number of scientific techniques that could be used in application of each of the seven criteria (Uniqueness or rarity; Special importance for life history of species; Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats; Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, slow recovery; Biological productivity; Biological diversity; and Naturalness). This document provides a general overview of these techniques, and discusses key issues concerning the strengths, challenges and limitations in the availability of data and scientific understanding we face at this time.

Maritime traffic effects on biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea - Volume 2 - Legal mechanisms to address maritime impacts on Mediterranean biodiversity

Citation Information: Oral, Nilüfer and Simard, François (editors). 2008. Legal mechanisms to address maritime impacts on Mediterranean biodiversity. Malaga, Spain: IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. 136 pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-1080-8

Date: 2008

Description: The Mediterranean Sea is a vital maritime highway linking with the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar, with the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits and with the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal. Bordered by 22 countries it is a sea of multiple seas, each with its own unique marine biodiversity and risks. To examine the impact of shipping on marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea, a workshop was convened in Istanbul on 22–24 September 2007 by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, the IUCN Global Marine Programme, and the Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reefs Specialist Group of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, with the generous support of the Italian Government. The Istanbul workshop marked an important step in furthering the interdisciplinary dialogue essential for improving the governance of shipping activities in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in areas currently beyond national jurisdiction. One of the important outcomes of the workshop was the preparation of four background papers outlining the legal framework and the measures available within this framework; these papers have now been collected together in this volume. We hope they will provide helpful reference material and guidance to policy makers, government officials, academics and other interested parties committed to furthering the sustainable use of the Mediterranean Sea.

Maritime traffic effects on biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea - Volume 1 - Review of impacts, priority areas and mitigation measures

Citation Information: Ameer Abdulla, PhD, Olof Linden, PhD (editors). 2008. Maritime traffic effects on biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea: Review of impacts, priority areas and mitigation measures. Malaga, Spain: IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation. 184 pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-1079-2

Date: 2008

Description: Only in the last decade has there been recognition that marine ecosystems worldwide are suffering a massive decline in biodiversity and irreparable alterations to ecosystem functions. The capacity of oceans to recover from global perturbations and, thus, to maintain ecosystem goods and services is rapidly weakening. Climate change, pollution, overfishing, introduced species and habitat degradation have been identified as the principal causes of marine biodiversity loss and thus priorities for conservation intervention. The Mediterranean Sea is representative of such extreme conditions resulting from persistent historical impact sustained over thousands of years of human development, settlement, commerce and resource exploitation. Currently, there are 601 cities with a population of 10,000 or more inhabitants along the Mediterranean coasts and 175 million tourists a year visit these shores.

An enclosed sea such as the Mediterranean is particularly vulnerable to ship-associated impacts due to a high-volume of shipping routes, long history of use, and sensitive shallow and deep-sea habitats. Over the past half century, shipping has greatly expanded in the Mediterranean Sea. Between 1985 and 2001, a 77% increase was recorded in the volume of ship cargo loaded and unloaded in Mediterranean ports. An estimated total of 200,000 commercial ships cross the Mediterranean Sea annually and approximately 30% of international sea-borne volume originates from or is directed towards the 300 ports in the Mediterranean Sea. These values are expected to grow three or four fold in the next 20 years.

Overview of the impacts of anthropogenic underwater sound in the marine environment

Citation Information: OSPAR Commission; Biodiversity Series; Publication Number: 441/2009

ISBN: 978-1-906840-81-5

Date: 2009

Description: This paper presents the Overview of the Impacts of Anthropogenic Underwater Sound in the Marine Environment in the modular approach. Besides this introductory chapter, it is comprised of the following seven modules: 2) Background on underwater sound, 3) Background on impacts of sound on aquatic life, 4) Marine construction and industrial activities, 5) Shipping, 6) Sonar, 7) Seismic surveys, and 8) Other activities.

The second module provides a comprehensive background on underwater sound, dealing with issues that are closely related to the overview: a) the nature of sound and basic concepts, b) measurement of sounds, c) physical units, d) biological units, e) sound vs. noise, f) source level measurements, g) sound propagation and transmission loss, and h) background noise.

The third module provides a background on general aspects of the impact of sound on marine life and aims to set the scene for the following modules. It outlines the approach of Richardson et al. 1995 in describing zones of noise influences (masking, behavioural response, injury, death) and discusses levels on which an impact assessment can be performed. In this context, the recently developed PCAD model by the National Research Council NRC 2005 ('population consequences of acoustic disturbance') is introduced and discussed.

Each of the five latter modules deals with one activity or closely related activities and their documented acoustic impacts on marine life. They comprise a description of sound sources and a review of documented impacts. The impact review follows the outline put forward in module 3 by describing results looking at masking, behavioural responses, injury and death. Taxa looked at should be marine mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds), marine fish, and other marine life (e.g. turtles, invertebrates). Whenever possible, the overview focuses on peer-reviewed papers and widely accessible reviews (e.g. ICES 2005 and COWRIE papers). This part shall be followed by a detailed description of mitigation measures that are suggested or already applied.

Marine Reserves Enhance the Recovery of Corals on Caribbean Reefs

Citation Information: Mumby PJ, Harborne AR (2010) Marine Reserves Enhance the Recovery of Corals on Caribbean Reefs. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8657. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008657

Abstract: The fisheries and biodiversity benefits of marine reserves are widely recognised but there is mounting interest in exploiting the importance of herbivorous fishes as a tool to help ecosystems recover from climate change impacts. This approach might be particularly suitable for coral reefs, which are acutely threatened by climate change, yet the trophic cascades generated by reserves are strong enough that they might theoretically enhance the rate of coral recovery after disturbance. However, evidence for reserves facilitating coral recovery has been lacking. Here we investigate whether reductions in macroalgal cover, caused by recovery of herbivorous parrotfishes within a reserve, have resulted in a faster rate of coral recovery than in areas subject to fishing. Surveys of ten sites inside and outside a Bahamian marine reserve over a 2.5-year period demonstrated that increases in coral cover, including adjustments for the initial size-distribution of corals, were significantly higher at reserve sites than those in non-reserve sites. Furthermore, macroalgal cover was significantly negatively correlated with the change in total coral cover over time. Recovery rates of individual species were generally consistent with small-scale manipulations on coral-macroalgal interactions, but also revealed differences that demonstrate the difficulties of translating experiments across spatial scales. Size-frequency data indicated that species which were particularly affected by high abundances of macroalgae outside the reserve had a population bottleneck restricting the supply of smaller corals to larger size classes. Importantly, because coral cover increased from a heavily degraded state, and recovery from such states has not previously been described, similar or better outcomes should be expected for many reefs in the region. Reducing herbivore exploitation as part of an ecosystem-based management strategy for coral reefs appears to be justified.

Towards a New Governance of High Seas Biodiversity: Report of the International Seminar held in Monaco on March 20-21, 2008

Citation Information: IDDRI – Idées pour le débat N° 08/2008 – English Version

Date: 2008

Description: This document, written in close cooperation with the contributors, provides a summary of the presentations and discussions held during the international seminar “Towards a New Governance of High Seas Biodiversity”, organised by the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) on 20 and 21 March 2008 at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, in partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the French Agency of Marine Protected Areas, the French Global Environmental Facility (FFEM) and with the collaboration of the Maritime and Oceanic Law Centre (University of Nantes).

Workshop by workshop, it presents the main perspectives put forward for a new governance of high seas biodiversity.

Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching

Citation Information: Grimsditch, Gabriel D. and Salm, Rodney V. (2006). Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 52pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-0950-5

Description: This paper synthesises much of the current scientific knowledge on coral reef resistance and resilience to bleaching, a possible major effect of climate change. Following a brief overview of coral bleaching and what is meant by resistance and resilience, the paper highlights a variety of resistance and resilience factors and identifies some gaps in knowledge. It continues by providing an overview of some of the tools and strategies we can use to enhance coral reef resilience. Finally, it reviews current initiatives working on coral reef resilience and also identifying some possible future opportunities for research into the issue. A glossary of terms you may find unfamiliar can be found on page 37.

A Reef Manager's Guide to Coral Bleaching

Citation Information: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority,Townsville, Australia

ISBN: 1-876945-40-0

Date: 2006

Authors: Paul Marshall and Heidi Schuttenberg

Description: The need for a management response to mass coral bleaching is now well established. The incidence and severity of mass coral bleaching events has increased continuously over the last two decades. As a result, almost every reef region in the world has now suffered extensive stress or coral mortality. Observations of these past impacts and studies of expected future trends have prompted leading researchers and managers to declare that coral reefs are in 'crisis'. In keeping with this, the scientific community has suggested that the impacts of mass coral bleaching events, in combination with those from chronic local stressors, will largely determine the condition of coral reefs in the next 50 years.

While the need for management has become clear, identifying practicable and effective management responses has proven challenging. Traditional management approaches that focus on minimising or eliminating sources of stress are not applicable to coral bleaching. Coral reef managers are unable to directly mitigate or influence the main cause of mass bleaching: above average water temperatures. This makes mass bleaching a uniquely challenging environmental management problem.

This guide presents a range of strategies for responding to the threat of mass coral bleaching. Importantly, A Reef Manager's Guide does not aim to offer a ‘cure’ for mass bleaching and related impacts. Rather, it draws from a significant and growing body of research striving to develop methods to support the ability of coral reef ecosystems to survive and recover from bleaching events (Section 1.2). Therefore, the Guide reviews management actions that can restore and maintain ecosystem resilience, including strategies for developing the knowledge and support that are critical for effective management action.

Working together with water: A living land builds for its future

Citation Information: Deltacommissie

Date: 2008

Description: The mandate ...

The government asked the Delta Committee to come up with recommendations on how to protect the Dutch coast and the low-lying hinterland against the consequences of climate change. The issue is how the Netherlands can be made climate proof over the very long term: safe against flooding, while still remaining an attractive place to live, to reside and work, for recreation and investment.

... and its interpretation

The task at hand, then, involved looking further than just flood protection. The Committee’s vision therefore embraces interactions with life and work, agriculture, nature, recreation, landscape, infrastructure and energy. The strategy for future centuries rests on two pillars: flood protection and sustainability. The report also emphasises the opportunities for Dutch society/the Netherlands as a whole.

Water safety

Water safety is at the centre of this report, and includes both flood protection and securing fresh water supplies. Achieving water safety prevents casualties and social disruption, while avoiding damage to our economy, landscape, nature, culture and reputation.

In their report, the Delta Committee assumes that a safe Netherlands is a collective social good for which the government is and will remain responsible. The level of flood protection must be raised by at least a factor of 10 with respect to the present level.

Opportunities for sustainability

The Committee’s recommendations place emphasis on development along with climate change and ecological processes; thus, they are cost effective and produce additional value for society. The recommended measures are flexible, can be implemented gradually and offer prospects for action in the short term. Their implementation will allow the Netherlands to better adapt to the effects of climate change and create new opportunities. The recommendations made must be sustainable: their implementation must make efficient use of water, energy and other resources, so that the quality of the environment is not merely maintained but even improved.

Implementation: The Delta Programme

Ocean Acidification: The Facts

Citation Information: Ocean Acidification Reference User Group (2009). Ocean Acidification: The Facts. A special introductory guide for policy advisers and decision makers. Laffoley, D. d’A., and Baxter, J.M. (eds). European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA). 12pp.

Description: This introductory guide is written especially for policy advisers and decision makers worldwide and is a wake-up call about the double impact on our seas of climate change and ocean acidification caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. It sets out the basic facts about the alarming and progressive acidification of the ocean that is threatening our marine ecosystems. The Earth’s geological record shows that previous episodes of ocean acidification were linked to mass extinctions of some species, and it is reasonable to assume that this episode could have the same consequences. There can be little doubt that the ocean is undergoing dramatic changes that will impact many human lives now and in the coming generations, unless we act quickly and decisively.

The Management of Natural Coastal Carbon Sinks

Citation Information: Laffoley, D.d’A. & Grimsditch, G. (eds). 2009. The management of natural coastal carbon sinks. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 53 pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-1205-5

Executive Summary: This report focuses on the management of natural coastal carbon sinks. The production of the report has been stimulated by an apparent lack of recognition and focus on coastal marine ecosystems to complement activities already well advanced on land to address the best practice management of carbon sinks. The production of this report is timely as a number of Governments are now introducing legislation to tackle climate change. In the UK, for example, the Climate Change Act sets out a statutory responsibility to quantify natural carbon sink as part of the overall carbon accounting process. It is important that such quantifications and processes work with the latest science and evidence.

To construct this report we asked leading scientists for their views on the carbon management potential of a number of coastal ecosystems: tidal saltmarshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows, kelp forests and coral reefs. The resultant chapters written by these scientists form the core of this report and are their views on how well such habitats perform a carbon management role. These ecosystems were selected because the belief from the outset was that they are good at sequestering carbon, and are located in situations where management actions could secure the carbon sinks. There are of course other features of our ocean that are already established as good carbon sinks – the key focus for this initial work has, however, been on those ecosystems where management intervention can reasonably readily play a role in securing and improving the future state of the given carbon sinks. If proven this work could expand the range of global options for carbon management into coastal marine environments, unlocking many possibilities for action and possible financing of new management measures to protect the important carbon sinks.

Managing Our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate: The time to act is now

Citation Information: Australian Government response; House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts; House of Representatives Committee Report

Date: November 2010

Description: The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to respond to the inquiry of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts (the Committee) into climate change and environmental impacts on coastal communities. The report of the inquiry Managing our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate: the time to act is now was tabled in the Parliament on 26 October 2009.

The Government acknowledges the work of the Committee in delivering its report and agrees with the major theme in the report, the need for national leadership and cooperation between all levels of government to effectively manage our valuable coastal resources, particularly in the context of climate change.

The Government is driving national reform which will enhance the sustainability of the coastal zone. The Government recognises that coastal management is an issue of national importance, and for the first time is driving inter-connected reform to help protect our coastal environments, ensure that urban development is sustainable and enhances regional productivity, addresses the growing risks from climate change impacts, and builds community resilience in the face of natural disasters. The Government intends to seek state and territory agreement to work through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to develop a national coastal adaptation agenda. This would provide an avenue to progress many of the outcomes sought through the proposal in the Committee‟s report to develop a new Intergovernmental Agreement on the Coastal Zone.

In addition, a number of key initiatives by the Government, working in collaboration with other jurisdictions, particularly through COAG, the Local Government and Planning Ministers‟ Council, and the Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council provide a solid basis for an integrated national approach for the sustainable management of our coastline. The Government has commenced mapping out a framework and process to ensure these initiatives effectively link together.

The Ocean and Climate Change: Tools and Guidelines for Action

Citation Information: Herr, D. and Galland, G.R. (2009).The Ocean and Climate Change. Tools and Guidelines for Action. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. 72pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-1201-7

Description: The purpose of this report ‘The Ocean and Climate Change – Tools and Guidelines for Action’ is to engage, inform and guide decision makers with regard to the development and implementation of marine and coastal climate change strategies and programmes.

Despite its enormous importance in regulating global climate and its sensitivity to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification, the ocean continues to get only peripheral attention in global climate research, climate change policy and implementation plans. For example, recent authoritative coverage of climate change in a Nature special issue made little reference to the ocean and no reference to marine biodiversity. This document on ‘The Ocean and Climate Change – Tools and Guidelines for Action’ serves to raise awareness and gives science-based action recommendations relevant to international and national climate change implementation processes.

The document provides an overview of the interactions between the ocean and climate and describes the impacts of climate change on the marine ecosystems and the goods and services they provide human society. Further, it outlines a set of recommendations for marine-related mitigation and adaptation policy and implementation actions. The potential and limits of the ocean in climate change mitigation strategies is highlighted by sections on marine renewable energy resources, natural marine carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage and ocean fertilization. The publication further stresses Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) as a means to improve social and ecosystem resilience to global ocean and climate change. Carefully designed marine protected areas and risk reduction management are included as means to reduce vulnerability of social and natural systems to future change.

Assessing Marine Protected Areas as a conservation tool: a decade later, are we continuing to enhance lobster populations at Eastport, Newfoundland?

Citation Information: Janes, J.M. 2009. Assessing Marine Protected Areas as a conservation tool: a decade later, are we continuing to enhance lobster populations at Eastport, Newfoundland? Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2832: vii + 33 p.

ISSN: 0706-6457

Abstract: Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have emerged as potential conservation tools for improving oceans management worldwide. As more MPAs with no-take marine reserves are established, the importance of evaluating their effectiveness is growing. Two MPAs, Round Island and Duck Islands, were established around the Eastport Peninsula, Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland in October 2005. It was expected that these MPAs would act as reserves for American lobster (Homarus americanus), where larger lobsters are allowed to grow, experience a higher reproductive potential and possibly seed the surrounding area through adult spillover. This paper focuses on a portion of an annual lobster monitoring program established in 2004, which consists of tagging lobsters inside the Eastport MPAs and the surrounding open areas and collecting data on size, sex, condition (ovigerous and/or v-notched) and movement. These data are compared to tagging data collected at Eastport in 1997, after the Fisheries Act closures to the Round and Duck Islands, following one fishing season. Changes to population structure ten years after closure include: a higher abundance of large lobsters, including ovigerous females, a broadening of population size structure and increases in average sizes of male and female lobsters. Some benefits, including the increased presences of large lobsters were detected in the adjacent commercially fished areas. Small numbers (2-3%) of lobsters are migrating across the MPA boundaries. The MPAs have contributed to conserving and enhancing this population of American lobsters.

Rapid Effects of Marine Reserves via Larval Dispersal

Citation Information: Cudney-Bueno R, Lavín MF, Marinone SG, Raimondi PT, Shaw WW (2009) Rapid Effects of Marine Reserves via Larval Dispersal. PLoS ONE 4(1): e4140. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004140

Abstract: Marine reserves have been advocated worldwide as conservation and fishery management tools. It is argued that they can protect ecosystems and also benefit fisheries via density-dependent spillover of adults and enhanced larval dispersal into fishing areas. However, while evidence has shown that marine reserves can meet conservation targets, their effects on fisheries are less understood. In particular, the basic question of if and over what temporal and spatial scales reserves can benefit fished populations via larval dispersal remains unanswered. We tested predictions of a larval transport model for a marine reserve network in the Gulf of California, Mexico, via field oceanography and repeated density counts of recently settled juvenile commercial mollusks before and after reserve establishment. We show that local retention of larvae within a reserve network can take place with enhanced, but spatially-explicit, recruitment to local fisheries. Enhancement occurred rapidly (2 yrs), with up to a three-fold increase in density of juveniles found in fished areas at the downstream edge of the reserve network, but other fishing areas within the network were unaffected. These findings were consistent with our model predictions. Our findings underscore the potential benefits of protecting larval sources and show that enhancement in recruitment can be manifested rapidly. However, benefits can be markedly variable within a local seascape. Hence, effects of marine reserve networks, positive or negative, may be overlooked when only focusing on overall responses and not considering finer spatially-explicit responses within a reserve network and its adjacent fishing grounds. Our results therefore call for future research on marine reserves that addresses this variability in order to help frame appropriate scenarios for the spatial management scales of interest.

Quantifying larval export from South African marine reserves

Citation Information: Marine Ecology Progress Series 394:65-78 (2009)

DOI: 10.3354/meps08326

Authors: Robin A. Pelc, Marissa L. Baskett, Tembaletu Tanci, Steven D. Gaines, Robert R. Warner

Abstract: Marine reserves may not only protect populations within their borders but also subsidize harvested populations outside through the spillover of either adults or planktonic larvae. The conservation benefits of marine reserves are well documented, and a growing body of evidence suggests that the spillover of large adults from reserves can enhance fisheries for highly mobile species. However, the proposed benefit to fisheries through larval export, a crucial benefit for the many marine species without highly mobile adults, remains controversial. We tested for larval export by estimating larval production and recruitment patterns of a harvested intertidal mussel, Perna perna, inside—and a range of distances outside—3 marine reserves in South Africa. Within the borders of 2 reserves, mussels were more abundant and larger than outside the reserves, with significantly higher expected production. Recruitment was highest inside these reserves and declined exponentially with distance. In the third region, where harvest outside reserve boundaries is carefully managed by community members, no differences in production or recruitment inside versus outside the reserve were found. Where production and recruitment were enhanced, we used the inverse relationship of recruitment with distance from the reserves to determine the spatial scale and magnitude of larval export. Our results suggest that larval export from these reserves enhances recruitment to fished areas within several kilometers. This study supports the idea that increased production in reserves may subsidize fisheries outside their borders, even for species with immobile adults.

A Global Analysis of the Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in Preventing Coral Loss

Citation Information: Selig ER, Bruno JF (2010) A Global Analysis of the Effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas in Preventing Coral Loss. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9278. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009278



A variety of human activities have led to the recent global decline of reef-building corals. The ecological, social, and economic value of coral reefs has made them an international conservation priority. The success of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in restoring fish populations has led to optimism that they could also benefit corals by indirectly reducing threats like overfishing, which cause coral degradation and mortality. However, the general efficacy of MPAs in increasing coral reef resilience has never been tested.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We compiled a global database of 8534 live coral cover surveys from 1969–2006 to compare annual changes in coral cover inside 310 MPAs to unprotected areas. We found that on average, coral cover within MPAs remained constant, while coral cover on unprotected reefs declined. Although the short-term differences between unprotected and protected reefs are modest, they could be significant over the long-term if the effects are temporally consistent. Our results also suggest that older MPAs were generally more effective in preventing coral loss. Initially, coral cover continued to decrease after MPA establishment. Several years later, however, rates of coral cover decline slowed and then stabilized so that further losses stopped.


These findings suggest that MPAs can be a useful tool not only for fisheries management, but also for maintaining coral cover. Furthermore, the benefits of MPAs appear to increase with the number of years since MPA establishment. Given the time needed to maximize MPA benefits, there should be increased emphasis on implementing new MPAs and strengthening the enforcement of existing MPAs.

Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories

Citation Information: Dudley, N. (Editor) (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. x + 86pp.

ISBN: 978-2-8317-1086-0

Description: The following guidelines are offered to help in application of the IUCN protected area management categories, which classify protected areas according to their management objectives. The categories are recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and by many national governments as the global standard for defining and recording protected areas and as such are increasingly being incorporated into government legislation. For example, the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas “recognizes the value of a single international classification system for protected areas and the benefit of providing information that is comparable across countries and regions and therefore welcomes the ongoing efforts of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas to refine the IUCN system of categories … ”

The guidelines provide as much clarity as possible regarding the meaning and application of the categories. They describe the definition and the categories and discuss application in particular biomes and management approaches.

The original intent of the IUCN Protected Area Management Categories system was to create a common understanding of protected areas, both within and between countries. This is set out in the introduction to the Guidelines by the then Chair of CNPPA (Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, now known as the World Commission on Protected Areas), P.H.C. (Bing) Lucas who wrote: “These guidelines have a special significance as they are intended for everyone involved in protected areas, providing a common language by which managers, planners, researchers, politicians and citizens groups in all countries can exchange information and views” (IUCN 1994).

As noted by Phillips (2007) the 1994 Guidelines also aimed to: “reduce the confusion around the use of many different terms to describe protected areas; provide international standards for global and regional accounting and comparisons between countries, using a common framework for the collection, handling and dissemination of protected areas data; and generally to improve communication and understanding between all those engaged in conservation”.

A process to design a network of marine no-take areas: Lessons from the Great Barrier Reef

Citation Information: Ocean & Coastal Management; Volume 52, Issue 8, August 2009, Pages 439–447

Authors: Leanne Fernandes, Jon Day, Brigid Kerrigan, Dan Breen, Glenn De'ath, Bruce Mapstone, Rob Coles, Terry Done, Helene Marsh, Ian Poiner, Trevor Ward, David Williams, Richard Kenchingtong

Abstract: In the absence of consensus on the quantity and level of zoning protection required for coral reef and lagoon ecosystems, which process can guide decision makers? The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) worked with experts in a collaborative process to develop a set of Biophysical Operational Principles to guide the design of a network of no-take areas. First, 82 expert scientists were asked to provide data and advice on the physical, biological and ecological dimensions of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. They recommended that an independent Scientific Steering Committee (the Committee) was set up. How this Committee worked successfully with the GBRMPA staff is detailed here in a manner to enable other resource managers to adopt the process if they are working in data-limited marine environments.


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