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Germany: 38% of marine waters proposed as MPAs

More than one third of Germany's total marine area could consist of MPAs under a national plan to designate 10 sites in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as protected areas. Designed in part to bring Germany into compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, the plan would raise the protected percentage of all of Germany's marine waters (its EEZ and territorial sea combined) to 38 percent. Germany nominated the 10 sites - located in the Baltic Sea and North Sea - to the European Commission in May.

MPA News

Drilling for oil and natural gas from the seabed is significantly more costly than drilling on land, due to engineering and transportation challenges in the marine environment. But as terrestrial petroleum supplies in many nations near or exceed their peak production, the hunt for oil and natural gas is increasingly taking place on the continental shelf, and even in the deep sea. With this expansion in offshore exploration and development, the opportunities for conflict with other resource users increase, as do environmental concerns related to potential oil spills and other pollution.

MPA News

Interview with Yvonne Sadovy, Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Aggregations

Many commercially important fishes reproduce in spawning aggregations that range in size from just a few individuals to tens of thousands. Because such gatherings can yield large catches and are often easy to locate again once discovered, spawning aggregations are attractive to fishermen. Overexploitation can occur quickly, as has happened for several reef-based species worldwide, like groupers, snappers and emperor fish.

MPA News

The largest marine protected area in the world now also includes the largest network of no-take areas. In late March, the Australian Parliament passed a bill to re-zone the multiple-use Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, setting aside one-third of the 344,000-km2 park as off-limits to all extractive activity. In doing so, legislators created a 115,000-km2 network of no-take zones, representing all 70 marine bioregions throughout the park. (For perspective: The new no-take network is roughly the size of Bulgaria or North Korea.

MPA News

Discussions of MPAs often focus on the management of fishing inside and outside of protected areas. But the growing presence of another extractive sector - the offshore petroleum industry - contributes its own set of interactions with MPAs, both negative and positive. The 50-year-old industry of exploring and drilling for oil and natural gas from the seafloor continues to expand, with new areas - such as West Africa and Western Canada - either in active development or under consideration for development. As the industry grows, so will its interactions with MPAs.

MPA News

This May, a new guidebook on measuring the management effectiveness of MPAs is scheduled for release. Titled How Is Your MPA Doing?, the book aims to help improve management by offering a framework to identify site goals and analyze how well those goals are being achieved. Featured are case studies of 18 MPAs around the world, both tropical and temperate, that used the framework to evaluate their management effectiveness.

MPA News

To design effective MPAs, planners need information on the habitats and species they want to protect. Data on the home range of a particular fish species, for example, can be invaluable for siting marine reserves to protect that species. Over the past several decades, scientists have tracked fish movement through mark-and-recapture techniques or following fish with scuba divers - generating useful, though incomplete, information.

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