In a transaction funded by an alliance of US and Mexican NGOs, the government of Mexico has acquired a 96-km2 group of islands in the Gulf of California, setting a precedent for private support of national protection efforts in the country, according to government officials. The US $3.3-million deal - led by the Mexican Foundation for Environmental Education (FUNDEA), The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund - will bring the biodiverse islands under federal protection.
News and Updates
Canada Designates Hydrothermal Vents as First Official MPA
Canada has designated the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents as its first official Marine Protected Area under the country's Oceans Act. The site, which features four known vent fields covering roughly 93 km2, was first selected as a pilot MPA in 1998 due to scientific interest in the area's ultra-high temperatures, geologic structures, and associated life forms (MPA News 2:11). The MPA designation ensures the ecosystem remains relatively undisturbed for scientific study.
Consumptive users of marine resources often do not embrace the concept of marine protected areas, particularly no-take zones. These stakeholders may distrust resource managers when confronted with the prospect of losing customary access privileges, as can be the case for commercial and recreational fishermen. Such distrust can be especially common when stakeholders are not fully involved in the planning of protected areas.
How much influence should community stakeholders have in planning an MPA?
Below is a perspective piece by Graeme Kelleher, followed by a letter to the editor from Graham Edgar. Both pieces address the issue of community participation in MPA processes, drawing upon each writer's experience. MPA News welcomes reader feedback: Do you agree or disagree with their viewpoints? E-mail us at mpanews [at] u.washington.edu. We will print responses.
Dear MPA News:
I was interested to read comments published in MPA News Vol. 4, No. 7 (February 2003) on process and achievements associated with the new Victorian MPA system, particularly the recognition that an exceptional system of MPAs could be achieved without consensus amongst stakeholders. The need for an appropriate education campaign in this situation was stressed.
Editor's note: This month, MPA News commences a new feature - the Manager Profile - to introduce readers to MPA managers around the world and the challenges they face.
Position: Head of Marine Protected Areas (since 2001), Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) of Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates.
New Zealand approves marine reserve around terrestrial World Heritage site
In 2002, the Australian state of Victoria and the American state of California approved plans for representative networks of marine protected areas in their waters. Involving long and contentious planning processes, both efforts offer lessons to practitioners and stakeholders around the world who face similar challenges in designing MPA systems.
Editor's note: The following perspective piece, authored by David Stein, addresses a challenge often encountered by MPA managers: inexact or inconsistent boundary information. Stein, a geographer for the US-based Technology, Planning and Management Corporation (TPMC), is a contractor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, site of the Training and Technical Assistance Institute for the National Marine Protected Areas Center.