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Editor's note: Joseph Uravitch is director of the U.S. National Marine Protected Areas Center. The MPA Center is a division of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Ocean Service.

By Joseph A. Uravitch

MPA News

New manual available on Marxan

A new user's manual is available for Marxan, a software program that provides support for decision-making on MPA design. The manual provides readers with the basic knowledge needed to use the software, including the questions it can help to answer, its limitations, and what data inputs are required.

MPA News

According to a goal set by global leaders at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, a worldwide network of marine protected areas is supposed to be in place four years from now (MPA News 4:3). Termed the "2012 target", this goal is one of several established for the MPA community to meet in coming years. Measuring how effectively the world is meeting these objectives requires data.

MPA News

Editor's note: Sue Wells is a private consultant. She co-authored the landmark IUCN report A Global Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, and is lead editor of Reef Encounter, the newsletter of the International Society for Reef Studies.

By Sue Wells

MPA News

In South Africa in 2006-2007, a debate was waged over whether to reopen part of Tsitsikamma National Park to fishing. Designated in 1964, the park is among the oldest MPAs in Africa and has been fully no-take since 2000. The nation's Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) proposed last year that roughly one-tenth of the park be reopened to line-fishing by members of local communities on a controlled and monitored basis. The proposal was contested by biologists and conservationists who said reopening the protected area would be a step backward for marine conservation.

MPA News

"MPA Tip" is a recurring feature that presents advice on MPA planning and management gathered from practitioners and publications. Below we describe an innovative technique for restoring damaged seagrass beds. If you have a useful tip for addressing a problem in MPA planning or management, please tell us about it at mpanews [at] We would like to feature it in a future issue of MPA News.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Ecosystem-based management commonly involves "scaling up" from how other management practices have typically worked:

From single-species fisheries management to management of multi-species assemblages;
From looking at isolated drivers of change to considering all environmental and human impacts;
From design of individual protected areas to planning MPA networks; and
From conservation of a fragment of habitat to comprehensive spatial management.