Due to climate change it is possible that the summertime Arctic Ocean could become ice-free by mid-century, according to the worst-case scenario of warming. This would open the relatively pristine Arctic marine ecosystem to industrial activities including fishing, shipping, and petroleum exploration and drilling. Arctic nations are already staking claims to portions of the Arctic seabed beyond their traditional 200-nm EEZs, seeking national jurisdiction over the resources there.
Names of newly discovered species to be auctioned for MPA-related conservation
Looking for new ways to raise funds for your MPA? If so, take note of "The Blue Auction", occurring 20 September in Monaco. The event will sell the rights to name several species of fish discovered during surveys of the Bird's Head Seascape region of Indonesia. The surveys, conducted in 2006, were part of an ongoing initiative to establish ecosystem-based management in the region, including designation of MPA networks (MPA News 8:4).
Conservation of ocean resources is typically a reactive exercise. Managers respond to the degradation of ecosystems or depletion of species by taking steps to try to restore what was there before. Most MPAs are, in essence, an attempt to re-establish a more "natural" state where human activity has already had an impact.
Editor's note: Jennifer Brown is a Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) ecosystem scientist at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in the U.S. Lisa Wooninck is a research fisheries biologist for the (U.S.) National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Marine Protected Areas Center.
By Jennifer A. Brown and Lisa Wooninck
Australia formally designates MPA network for Southeast region
On 5 July, Australia formally designated a network of 13 new MPAs in its Southeast marine region, in waters off southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and eastern South Australia. The network covers 226,000 km2 and will come into effect on 3 September 2007.
Over the past decade and a half, tourism in the Galapagos Islands has boomed: from 40,000 visitors in 1990 to 140,000 in 2006. This has had a domino effect on the islands, according to a draft report by the Charles Darwin Foundation, soon to be released. Rising tourism has promoted the growth of local businesses and, in turn, increased immigration - doubling the islands' human population over the same period.
Canada's offshore trawling industry for shrimp and groundfish has instituted a voluntary closure to protect coldwater corals off the coast of Baffin Island and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, on the nation's Atlantic coast. The 12,500-km2 coral protection zone will help prevent coral species from being taken as bycatch in trawl gear. Coral species in the region, including Primnoa resedaeformis and Paragoria arborea, exist hundreds of meters below the surface and can live to be centuries old.
Last month, MPA News asked resource planners for their views on an initiative to create a network of MPAs off the coast of the US state of California. The initiative completed its first phase in April, with designation of 29 MPAs along the state's central coast (MPA News 8:10). Its second phase, covering the north central coast, was launched this past February, and phases for the north and south coasts will follow in coming years.
Two MPAs located nearly 5000 km apart have formed a "sister sanctuary" arrangement to coordinate management of a shared population of humpback whales. The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, off the northeast coast of the US, and the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic established the partnership in December 2006 to assist humpback whale recovery in the north Atlantic.