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Dear reader,

We are now in the 12th year of producing MPA News and the field of marine protected areas has never been more dynamic. With international agreements calling for networks of MPAs to be in place by 2012, nations are accelerating their designation of protected areas. Likewise, the need for information on planning and managing MPAs shows no signs of letting up: more than 30,000 copies of MPA News have been downloaded from our website during this year alone.

MPA News

UK designates 15 MPAs to protect key habitats

The UK government has designated 15 new MPAs to protect an array of reefs, sandbanks, and sea caves, as well as the species that depend on these habitats. Certain activities - including fishing, dredging, and wind turbines - will be banned or restricted at the 15 sites. The MPAs include inshore and offshore waters.

MPA News

A new study published in the journal Biological Conservation offers evidence that fish could behave differently inside a no-take area compared to outside. A research team in New Zealand studied snapper across an area that encompassed a no-take MPA (Leigh Marine Reserve) and adjacent fished waters, using acoustic telemetry tags to monitor the fishes' movement. In general, the fish exhibited two types of home ranges. One was relatively small (about 900 m in linear distance) and all of the fish tagged within the reserve exhibited this home range behavior.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Policies that mandate ecosystem-based management of the ocean have emphasized the need for good science. In the newly released "Final Recommendations of the Ocean Policy Task Force" on which the new US national ocean policy is based (described later in this issue), "science" is mentioned more than 65 times. The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the EU Common Fisheries Policy both stress the need for science to underpin management.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)

Implicit in the EBM construct is the central role of science. By building management from a foundation of solid science, we presume that ecosystems and the resources and services they provide can be protected or restored in predictable ways, following a set path to known outcomes. And it is not only natural (ecological) sciences that are integral to that foundation: social sciences are critical as well.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

In July, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a national ocean policy for the US - the country's first comprehensive, integrated policy for stewardship of its oceans and coasts. The policy launches a process of coastal and marine spatial planning for the nation, and coordinates the various ocean-related activities of more than 20 federal agencies under a new and centralized National Ocean Council. The President's action reflects the recommendations of a federal task force that explored ways to promote long-term conservation and use of ocean resources.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

The Crown Estate is a commercial property organization that manages a diverse portfolio on behalf of the UK. The property ranges from offices and shops in the heart of London, to farmland and forests, to the UK's foreshore and seabed. Because the role of The Crown Estate is to enhance the value of this property and earn a surplus for UK taxpayers, it leases various activities. On its seabed property, for example, this includes licensing various offshore renewable energy projects. The Crown Estate plans for these offshore projects using marine spatial planning.

MPA News

It is mid-July and the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in US waters of the Gulf of Mexico is still spewing crude oil from the underground field into the water column. The spill began nearly three months ago, and several million barrels of oil have been released from the seafloor wellhead. Oil company BP and the US Coast Guard continue efforts to shut off the well's flow. The latest efforts involve installing a new cap on the broken wellhead and drilling relief wells kilometers below the seafloor. Neither strategy is guaranteed to be successful.

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