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MPA News

By Rafael Magris

In November 2015, 39 million cubic meters of metal-contaminated slurry polluted riverine and coastal waters in southwestern Brazil when a tailings dam failure occurred in a headwater of the Doce River catchment. (A tailings dam is used to store wastes from mining operations.) The plume of contaminated sediment ultimately reached several sensitive marine habitats including coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and habitats formed by coralline crustose algae. Much of the sediment accumulated in two marine protected areas – Santa Cruz Wildlife Refuge and Costa das Algas Environmental Protection Area.

MPA News

By Erich Hoyt and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

In late January 2019, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force announced approval of 30 new Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas Region. IMMAs are areas of habitat that are important to marine mammal species, and which have the potential to be delineated and managed for conservation. On a map, IMMAs are “marine mammal layers” intended to spotlight areas that may lead to MPAs or other conservation outcomes, such as ship route or noise reduction directives, and may be used in the course of marine spatial planning.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: Several new papers have examined the feasibility and advisability of applying different management and conservation measures at different depths of the water column (aka ‘vertical zoning’). In this issue, with help from a couple of experts, The Skimmer takes a quick look at the history of vertical zoning and current thinking on where it can and should go next.

Why would we want to do vertical zoning? Isn’t 2D[1] conservation and management complicated enough?

  • As The Skimmer readers are well aware, the marine environment (temperature, pressure, salinity, light, nutrients, oxygen, currents, physical structures, etc.) and the species that inhabit it vary dramatically with depth. One just has to read the latest articles about fascinating new creatures discovered in the deep ocean to get a sense of this.
     
  • This variability means that entirely different communities of organisms with different human uses, vulnerabilities, and conservation needs exist at different depths at the same latitude/longitude. This variability creates complexity for conservation and management but also opportunity. Most conservation and management actions essentially treat the ocean as 2D. Allowing different suites of human activities at different depths, however, could potentially reduce restrictions on human activities in the marine environment (potentially increasing public support for conservation and management activities) while affording the same level of ecosystem protection as vertically homogenous management. We catch up with the latest thinking on the soundness of this approach and our ability to implement it below.
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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