At the World Conservation Congress last month, IUCN presented its new official definition for the term "protected area" (MPA News 10:4):
"A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values."
Professionals working at a range of bureaucratic levels in MPAs in the Western Indian Ocean now may get certified as a way to demonstrate their skills and experience. Developers of the Western Indian Ocean Certification Programme for Marine Protected Area Professionals, or WIO-COMPAS, anticipate eventually adapting and applying it to other regions worldwide.
In a report published by the United Nations University this past July, a team of researchers concluded that most coastal management strategies in use worldwide were largely ineffective at stopping environmental degradation, and called for changes. The report Stemming Decline of the Coastal Ocean: Rethinking Environmental Management criticized most coastal and marine resource management efforts as fragmented and insufficiently based on science. MPAs received particular criticism.
Editor's note: Trevor Ward is an adjunct senior research fellow at the University of Western Australia. Graham Edgar is an associate professor at the University of Tasmania. Hugh Possingham is professor of Mathematics and professor of Ecology at the University of Queensland.
By Trevor Ward, Graham Edgar, and Hugh Possingham
Zoning plan and license-buyback program announced for Moreton Bay (Australia)
"MPA Tip" is a recurring feature that provides advice on MPA planning and management gathered from practitioners and publications. The following tip was adapted by MPA News from Managing Marine Protected Areas: A Toolkit for the Western Indian Ocean, published by the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA). Consisting of a series of themed briefs, the toolkit offers guidance on a diverse array of MPA management topics and is available online at www.wiomsa.org/mpatoolkit/Home.htm.
Multiple new tools, publications, principles, and guidelines to aid MPA practitioners were announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC), held 5-14 October in Barcelona, Spain. Convened every four years to discuss solutions to conservation challenges, the WCC produced a consensus statement on speeding up MPA designations, new web-based tools for the field, a revised definition for the term protected area, several guidebooks on planning and management, and a set of principles for governing the high seas.
Australia's portion of the Coral Sea should be designated as a giant no-take marine reserve, according to a new campaign led by the Pew Environment Group (a US-based NGO), several Australian marine scientists, and former Australian Navy officials. The proposed Australian Coral Sea Heritage Park would stretch from the offshore boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in northeast Australia to the edge of the nation's maritime boundaries with Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia.