Marine protected areas are designated typically in a piecemeal fashion, one site at a time. A special habitat is identified and protected in an MPA...then another special habitat is identified and protected...then another. Over time, and with enough diligence, a country or region can build a representative system of MPAs this way.
A new network has been created to help managers of large-scale MPAs - greater than 250,000 km2 in area - to share their experience in addressing the unique challenges of overseeing such vast protected areas. The Big Ocean network, as it is called, was launched in December and includes the managers of five MPAs so far: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Australia), Marianas Trench Marine National Monument (US), Motu Motiro Hiva Marine Park surrounding Sala y Gomez Island (Chile), Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (US), and Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati).
By Brendan Tougher and Philip A. McGillivary
[Editor's note: The authors of this essay have no financial interest in the products they describe here.]
Autonomous vessels - that is, unmanned vessels that can operate independently of human direction or by remote control - offer MPA managers a new tool for research and enforcement. Recently developed autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) are now being tested in marine protected areas to provide a broad range of monitoring capabilities.
Large MPAs are essential
Dear MPA News:
In "Views of Global MPA Coverage and the 10% Target: Interview with Mark Spalding and Kristina Gjerde" (MPA News, November/December 2010), Dr. Spalding acknowledges that while "mega-MPAs are really important," focusing on them threatens to throw "off course" localized efforts to protect our oceans.
Genetic evidence shows larvae from reserves are reseeding fisheries
MPA web domains for sale
Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), the publisher of MPA News, is selling the domain names listed above. If you are interested in purchasing one or more of these domains, please contact MPA News Editor John Davis at mpanews [at] u.washington.edu.
Marine ecosystems are complex. Despite advances in our understanding over the past century, much remains a mystery about the linkages among species, habitats, and oceanographic factors. Thus, in managing the ocean, uncertainty is unavoidable. Policy makers and managers must make decisions despite incomplete data, imperfect models, and scientific disagreement. To account for this uncertainty, an adaptive approach is necessary: policy decisions are monitored to gauge their effectiveness, then altered as necessary to reflect what has been learned.
Recent issues of MEAM covered the central role of science in EBM, including whether science should drive the process or just inform it (MEAM 4:1, 4:2). What was not addressed is what should drive or inform the science. Everyone, including scientists, holds particular biases: pro-conservation, pro-industry, etc. And these biases, if not controlled, can affect the science generated to support EBM. The result is a mix of science and advocacy.
By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)
Webinar: Real Steps toward EBM along the West Coast of the US
Date: 13 January 2011
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST (6:00-7:30 p.m. GMT)
MEAM and the EBM Tools Network are co-hosting a live webinar with lessons on real-world EBM implementation from the West Coast EBM Network, which connects local EBM efforts in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Speakers will include the network coordinator and representatives from initiatives in the network.