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COVID‐19 and protected and conserved areas, PARKS, May 2020. Co-authored by 35 protected area practitioners, this essay suggests three potential scenarios for how the pandemic will impact protected areas and their role in society’s recovery:

  1. A return to normal;
  2. A global economic depression and decline in conservation; or
  3. A new and transformative relationship with nature – “the only sustainable pathway,” write the authors.
MPA News

By John Bohorquez

Sometimes you can find insight in surprising places. As a graduate student who studies marine conservation and protected areas, I admit I found myself asking after the murder of George Floyd, “How could my work possibly be more useless right now?” It’s difficult to stay focused when there are so many other issues afflicting the world. Even this year’s World Oceans Week often felt like an afterthought. 

But as this historic moment has developed, I have begun to see some parallels between my research in marine conservation and what disadvantaged communities in the US are protesting against just outside my door. How policing is conducted and how police are held accountable in each of these settings affects the wellbeing of all.

MPA News

By Catherine Piante

The PHAROS4MPAs project, coordinated by WWF over the past two years, has explored how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by several maritime sectors, and how the environmental impacts of those sectors can be prevented or minimized.

The sectors studied were maritime transport, offshore windfarms, cruises, leisure boating, small-scale commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and marine aquaculture. The project has released a set of practical recommendations – excerpted below – for MPA managers, maritime spatial planning (MSP) authorities, and businesses.

MPA News

Scientists invited to sign letter supporting 30x30 target for MPAs

Over 100 marine scientists have already signed a letter calling on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to set a target to safeguard 30% of the ocean in a network of “highly or fully protected, well-managed MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures” by 2030. The letter, coordinated by Marine Conservation Institute, remains open for more signatories as of this writing (mid-June 2020). To read the letter and add your signature, click here.

MPA News

With first-hand reports from ten MPA practitioners worldwide:

  • We must be laser-focused on actions to keep our institutions and work afloat, by Nirmal Jivan Shah
  • Adapting on the fly to staffing and program challenges, by Emma Doyle
  • MPA monitoring organization loses its volunteers and financial base, by Alan Kavanagh
  • Long-term financial management of Dutch Caribbean MPAs will need to change, by Kalli De Meyer
  • This is an opportunity for governments to help fishermen support MPAs, by Javier Corcuera Quiroga
  • Success of MPAs depends on support from stakeholders, whose priorities may be changing, by Özkan Anil
  • MPA that relies on yacht tourism revenue is optimistic for a rebound, by Joseph Ierna, Jr.
  • Conducting fish surveys during this quiet time to understand the impact of people on MPAs, by Ruthy Yahel and Simon Nemtzov
  • Partnering with law enforcement for increased patrols, by Claire Arre
  • This challenge is likely to be harder than any before, by Sibylle Riedmiller
MPA News

Journal article

  • Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity conservation – click here

MPA cases

  • How researchers are studying the 0.4-km2 Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Hawai`i, where daily visitation has dropped from 3000 people a day to zero – click here
  • How the pandemic has led to an increase in zoning offenses in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – click here
  • How the collapse in cruise ship business has upended the budget for Glacier Bay National Park in the US – click here
  • How one MPA, Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help support it through this time – click here
MPA News

These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.

Article: Gownaris, N.J. et al. Gaps in protection of important ocean areas: a spatial meta-analysis of ten global mapping initiatives. Frontiers in Marine Science 6:650 (2019).

Finding: There have been numerous initiatives led by UN agencies or NGOs to map globally important marine areas, with each initiative applying its own set of criteria. This study is the first to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus among them, and conduct gap analyses at a global scale. It finds that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identified by as many as seven overlapping initiatives. 

MPA News

Niue designates large MPA

In late April, the government of the South Pacific island nation of Niue formally designated the 127,000-km2 Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, covering 40% of its exclusive economic zone. The MPA will be off-limits to commercial fishing, and is being paired with a downscaling of tuna fishing effort in Niue’s waters. The nation had announced its intent to designate the MPA in 2017 at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically affecting the lives of many, if not most, of Skimmer readers right now, and it may herald some broad societal changes in the coming years. For the next few months, The Skimmer will take a look at the various ways that the pandemic is affecting marine ecosystems and their conservation and management. We will do this in installments published every 1-2 weeks. In this issue, we take a look at how fisheries and aquaculture are being affected by the pandemic. We will update previous installments of our coverage, so if you see critical aspects that we are missing, please let us know at skimmer [at] octogroup.org (). Many thanks to the EBM Tools Network for some early tips on what was happening at the docks.

“The biggest crisis to hit the fishing industry ever”

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

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