Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of software tools for facilitating EBM processes, and to provide advice on using those tools effectively. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of leading tool users, developers, and training providers.
The economic meltdown that began last year in the U.S. financial industry has now spread nearly everywhere, affecting industry, governments, and households around the world. This global financial crisis will likely impact marine protected area planning and management as well, through cuts in private and public funding, decreased global tourism, and other impacts.
This month MPA News asks MPA practitioners how they foresee the crisis affecting their sites or institutions, and what steps they are taking to prepare for it. Their answers are below:
A new Web-based tool for planning MPAs has debuted as part of the ongoing initiative to create a network of MPAs off the coast of the U.S. state of California (the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative - see MPA News 8:11 and 9:1). The tool, called MarineMap, is allowing stakeholders and resource managers to experiment with different MPA designs on their own computers, at their own pace.
It is rare for marine protected areas to be mentioned in the International Journal of Epidemiology, which covers issues affecting human health and illness. But an article in a recent issue of the journal examines the relationship between increasing human demand for fish and the declining health of our ocean ecosystems. The article suggests that recommendations from health advocates that people eat more fish are on a collision course with recommendations from biologists that we conserve fish stocks.
Namibia designates first MPA
The African nation of Namibia has designated its first MPA - the Namibian Islands' Marine Protected Area. It covers nearly 9600 km2 of sea area off the country's southern coastline and includes all of Namibia's islands. Planning of the MPA began in 2005 and included consultations with stakeholders on zoning and other issues.
On 6 January 2009 in his final month in office, President George W. Bush designated three vast new MPAs in U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean. Encompassing a total area of roughly 505,000 km2, the three MPAs are:
In January, the World Wide Web was abuzz with an advertisement for what was touted as "the best job in the world": a six-month, AU $150,000 contract (US $101,000) to serve as island caretaker in Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The job's main responsibility: to explore the natural wonders of the marine park and surrounding 600 islands, and post those experiences on the Internet. Within a month, more than 14,000 applications from 169 countries had been submitted for the position. More are still flooding in. The application period ends 22 February.
A new report provides guidance on the planning and management of MPAs in tropical regions, based on lessons learned from six MPA network initiatives in the Coral Triangle region of Southeast Asia. The publication analyzes the MPA networks through their various stages of development, including planning and design, implementation, and evaluation. Best practices for each stage are provided.
A paper in the December 2008 issue of the journal Ocean & Coastal Management describes a new approach to designing MPAs. Rather than defining the size and shape of an MPA's boundaries at the end of a planning process, as is typically done, the described approach sets the size and shape as the first step, even before any aspects of physical location are considered. The paper calls this the "sliding windows" approach.