OpenChannels News

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Belgium's relatively small ocean area, totaling 3600 km2, is under great pressure, being centrally located in one of the most heavily exploited marine areas in the world. The many uses of marine resources and space in this patch of the North Sea, the increasing user conflicts, and the emergence of new uses has required a move away from what was previously an ad hoc approach to managing the marine environment. The new direction is a forward-looking strategy using marine spatial planning (MSP).

MPA News

This month marks the 100th issue of MPA News. From the publication of our first issue nearly a decade ago, the field of marine protected areas has changed in significant ways. Some of these changes have been technological - including new, sophisticated software to help plan MPA networks - and others financial, such as the increased use of endowments to fund sites. The measurement of MPAs' effectiveness has emerged as a widely accepted part of management.

MPA News

US President George W. Bush has directed his administration to assess whether large marine areas under US jurisdiction in the central and western Pacific should receive greater protection, such as through designation as MPAs. In the central Pacific, this includes the waters surrounding Johnston Atoll; Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands; Kingman Reef; Palmyra Atoll; Wake Island; and Rose Atoll. In the western Pacific, the area includes waters around the northern islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, including parts of the Mariana Trench.

MPA News

Editor's note: The authors of this essay - Mary Lawrence, Dave Sully, John Beumer, and Dawn Couchman - are all with the Queensland (Australia) Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries.

By Mary Lawrence, Dave Sully, John Beumer, and Dawn Couchman

MPA News

First call for oral presentations at International Marine Conservation Congress

The International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC), to occur 20-24 May 2009, has announced its first call for oral presentations, posters, and 4-minute "speed presentations". The deadline for submissions is 15 October 2008. Details are available on the IMCC website at www2.cedarcrest.edu/imcc/proposals.html. The IMCC will encompass the Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress, and will be held in Washington, DC, in the US.

MPA News

In "MPA Tip", we present advice on MPA planning and management. Below, a technique for monitoring ship traffic is described. The purpose is to help avoid vessel damage to sensitive areas, such as through groundings or illegal anchoring.

This tip was adapted by MPA News with permission from Duncan Vaughan, who described the technique on the Coral ListServer (http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov) in September 2007. Vaughan is the deputy clerk and fishery officer for the Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee in the UK.

MPA News

In designing MPA networks, planners must decide how they will choose which sites to include. There are a variety of ways to select sites, from simple ones (having experts make a list based on their best judgment) to complex (using advanced software to consider an array of ecological and socioeconomic factors). There are also questions on how best to classify the area you seek to protect. After all, if you aim to have a representative network of MPAs, you need to know what characteristics or habitats you want represented within it, and how to include samples of each in the network.

MPA News

By Dan Brumbaugh

Collectively, stakeholders in most MPA processes are interested in science-based network designs that provide confidence in the long-term persistence of biological diversity and the maintenance of important ecosystem processes and services. Therefore, a big challenge for marine conservation scientists and planners is to utilize features (i.e., what people want to conserve), target levels (how much is needed or how much can be afforded), and new algorithms that fully achieve stakeholder visions for their seascapes.

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