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Posted on June 4, 2012 - 4:57pm, by nwehner

Rhode Island Sea Grant hosted the 11th Annual Ronald C. Baird Sea Grant Science Symposium in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. from May 13-16, 2012.

The symposium featured presentations on marine spatial planning, also referred to as smart ocean planning or maritime spatial planning, from approximately 40 experts from around the world. Participants discussed the status of their country or region's spatial planning initiatives, lessons learned, successes, failures, and other information to determine best practices for ocean planning practitioners.

MPA News

In December 2011, fisheries managers and researchers from across West Africa gathered in Senegal to discuss the use of MPAs as fishery management tools. Convened by the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), which coordinates the fishery policies of seven West African member states, the meeting featured a global review of the "state of the art" on MPAs in fishery management.* The event's goal was to find and promote ways that different forms of MPAs could contribute to sustainable development of fisheries in the region.

MPA News

UK recalculates Chagos MPA size; finds it is 100,000 km2 larger than announced

You know your MPA is big when the officially announced size is off by 100,000 km2 and no one catches the mistake for two years. The Chagos Marine Protected Area has been widely reported - including by the UK Government, which designated it in April 2010 - to be 544,000 km2 in size. But a reassessment by the UK Hydrographic Office this year has placed the correct figure at roughly 640,000 km2, more than 17% larger than previously estimated.

MPA News

The global median size for marine protected areas is 1.6 km2.* In other words, half of MPAs worldwide are larger than that, and half are smaller. The following list, drawn from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), features marine protected areas that are equal in area to the global median:

Capel Island and Knockadoon Nature Reserve

Ireland (WDPA ID: 10936)

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

The essence of natural resource management is making decisions about trade-offs. At the most basic level, there are the trade-offs between managing for short-term benefits now or foregoing them for greater benefits later. Then there are trade-offs between different types of benefit: the benefits from trawling in a particular bay, for example, versus the benefits from laying an undersea cable there.

One lesson from humankind's use of the oceans is that the services provided to us by these ecosystems are finite: often the demand for benefits from ocean resources exceeds their sustainable supply. There is a maximum amount of fish an ecosystem can supply for human consumption, for instance. Or there is a particular amount of space a wind farm can take up before it impacts local fisheries. This means that trade-offs need to be made among different services, including the requirements for sustainability of the ecosystem itself.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at]

Only a fool would suggest that trade-off analysis is a simple process. But I will propose a simplifying principle. No matter how sophisticated the analysis, how rich the data on values and consequences of choices, and how large and complex the scale of analysis, there is one rule:

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Coastal communities in developing nations have led way on new media

Dear MEAM:

This is to acknowledge the important contribution of MEAM in directing our community to the potential for new media tools in EBM ("New Media and EBM: Using Twitter, YouTube, and Other Tools to Engage the 'Crowd' and Improve Management", MEAM 5:4). This is a commendable effort. As you may be aware, several coastal communities in developing countries - the south Indian State of Kerala being an outstanding example, where fishermen have been using technologies like mobile phones and community radio long before their comrades in the North - have been exploiting the power of new media for quite some time.