Notes & News

MPA News

Correction: Due to an editorial error in last month's issue (MPA News 4:6), the MPA Perspective essay by William Alevizon contained a temporarily faulty web link to a list of his cited literature. The link is now active at the URL provided with the article.

Tunisia contemplates expanded MPA system

A multidisciplinary science team has proposed nine sites in the three main Tunisian gulfs as potential marine protected areas, to be considered as part of Tunisia's next five-year, national socioeconomic development plan, beginning 2006. The team's research was ordered by the Tunisian Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Water Resources. The proposals for the nine sites - ranging in size from 20 km2 to 850 km2 - took into account several criteria, including existing social and economic benefits of the areas.

The research team, drawn from the Institut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (INSTM), called for conservation measures to integrate existing human activities except in cases where such activities posed a major risk of environmental disturbance. Tunisia's current five-year socioeconomic development plan calls for the designation of three new MPAs, which are now in various stages of implementation. For more information: Karim Ben Mustapha, Laboratoire Ressources Marines Vivantes, INSTM, 2025 Salammbo, Tunis, Tunisie. Tel: + 216 71 730420; E-mail: karim.benmustapha [at] instm.rnrt.tn.


New report on marine reserves as ecosystem-management tools

No-take marine reserves are an effective tool for restoring and maintaining coastal and marine habitats, according to a new report published by the Pew Oceans Commission, an independent board conducting a comprehensive review of US ocean policy. Authored by biologist Stephen Palumbi, the report states that, to date, networks of marine reserves are the best-understood means for managing marine ecosystems. "We know that reserves dramatically increase the density and size of species that are over-exploited outside reserve borders," said Palumbi in an interview. He said that although proof of the spillover of larvae and adults from reserves is limited so far, evidence of it is increasing. "Given this state of knowledge, we can be fairly certain that reserves set up in major marine habitats will serve a critical conservation need - preserving habitats and ecosystems that house thousands of species," he said.

Marine Reserves: A Tool for Ecosystem Management and Conservation emphasizes the need for inclusion of all stakeholders in the planning of reserves. The 45-page report is available online in PDF format at http://www.pewoceans.org/reports/pew_marine_reserves.pdf. For more information: Steve Palumbi, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA. Tel: +1 831 655 6210; E-mail: spalumbi [at] stanford.edu.


Newsletter available on US MPA efforts

Connections, a new monthly newsletter published by the (US) National Marine Protected Areas Center, provides information on the resources and mission of the Center, including training opportunities, research, management tools, and publications. To view issues of the newsletter online in PDF format, visit http://mpa.gov/mpabusiness/center.html. To be added to the Connections e-mail distribution list, e-mail dana.topousis [at] noaa.gov.

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