Scientists call for large no-take areas
More than 260 marine scientists from 39 countries have signed a statement calling for the designation of a global system of very large no-take MPAs. Such a system would help ensure the future abundance of top marine predator species and would match the scale of management to the scale of important ecosystem processes, they say.
"Large reserves, where ecological processes and functions can operate much as they have for millennia, are virtually missing from the marine conservation and management portfolio," state the scientists. "Globally, there are only a small number of intact regions where it is possible to establish, monitor, and protect very large marine reserves. These regions should be an urgent priority for protection, based on strong public and political support."
The statement was organized by Global Ocean Legacy, a project of the Pew Environment Group that seeks to identify and protect very large marine ecosystems over the next five years. Ph.D. and senior scientists are invited to support the statement, which is available at www.globaloceanlegacy.org.
Albania designates first MPA
In late April, the Albanian Council of Ministers designated the nation's first marine protected area. The Sazani Island-Karaburuni Peninsula MPA covers 126 km2, and provides habitat for at least 36 endangered or otherwise protected species, including loggerhead turtles, bottlenose dolphins, and Mediterranean monk seals. The site also holds significant cultural value: portions of it served as important harbors hundreds and thousands of years ago. Shoreline rocks in the MPA's Grama Bay still feature abundant inscriptions in Latin and ancient Greek. For more information on the MPA, go to http://medpan.org/?arbo=article&sel=ID&val=502.
US national MPA system adds 29 more sites
The US National System of Marine Protected Areas added 29 more sites in June, representing the conclusion of a second round of site nominations. The new additions bring the national system to a total of 254 sites. To join the system, a site must be nominated by its managing agency and the nomination must be approved by the National Marine Protected Areas Center. Information on the new additions and the system as a whole are at www.mpa.gov.
A third round of nominations is already open for public comment. It comprises four sites, and all four are Tilefish Gear Restricted Areas - representing the first time that MPAs designated under the US's primary fisheries management law (the Magnuson-Stevens Act) have been nominated to join the country's MPA system.
In other US MPA news, five areas of deepwater coral habitat off the nation's southeastern coast will become off-limits to bottom-disturbing fishing gear as of 22 July. The closures, recommended by the US's regional fishery management council in 2009 and approved this year by the National Marine Fisheries Service, will cover 23,000 square miles.
Canada designates Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area
In June, Canada designated the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, a 3500-km2 MPA off the coast of the province of British Columbia. The MPA surrounds an archipelago of 138 islands known as Haida Gwaii. The land there is already managed as the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. Combined, the marine and terrestrial ecosystem is now protected from sea bottom to mountaintop.
Both the MPA and the terrestrial protected area are co-managed under an agreement among Parks Canada (the federal parks agency), Fisheries and Oceans Canada (the federal oceans management agency), and the Haida Nation - the government of the aboriginal Haida people. For more information on the MPA and its designation, go to www.pc.gc.ca/apps/cp-nr/release_e.asp?bgid=1352&andor1=bg.
Russia to expand protected area system
Russia will add 10,000 km2 in marine area to its national protected area system by 2020, its government announced in July. The nation will also expand its terrestrial protected areas. The moves are intended in part to help the country meet its international obligations to establish effective protected area systems, including under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. For a press release by WWF-Russia, whose research informed Russia's planning, go to http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/news/?uNewsID=194088.
Vietnam announces plan to designate 16 MPAs
In May the Vietnamese government announced a plan to designate 16 new MPAs within the next five years (2011-2015). These new MPAs are expected to cover 0.24% of the country's territorial waters. Roughly 30% of the total area in the new MPAs will be no-take. The government also intends to designate several additional MPAs from 2016-2020, as well as expand existing sites. For more information, go to http://myvietnamnews.com/2010/05/29/460-bln-vnd-earmarked-for-marine-reserves.
Call for proposals for IMCC2
The Second International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC2) has released a call for proposals for symposia, workshops, and focus groups. IMCC2 will be held 14-18 May 2011 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Proposals must be submitted online by 31 August 2010. Details are at www2.cedarcrest.edu/imcc/IMCC2_Call_for_proposals.pdf.
Guidance on size and spacing of MPAs
A new report commissioned by Natural England provides suggestions on how to maximize connectivity among MPAs and ensure viability of individual sites within England's MPA network, which is under development. The publication bases its recommendations on a review of adult movement and larval dispersal of fish species in UK waters. Connectivity and viability are two of the seven network design principles Natural England and partners are using to identify sites for an ecologically coherent MPA network, as called for under England's Marine and Coastal Access Act. The report Guidance on size and spacing of Marine Protected Areas in England is available at http://naturalengland.etraderstores.com/NaturalEnglandShop/NECR037.
Technical options for enforcing remote ocean areas
In November 2009, the Marine Conservation Biology Institute convened an international group of resource managers, law enforcement personnel, and other experts to brainstorm solutions to challenges involved in enforcing large offshore MPAs. This initiative, called the Surveillance and Enforcement of Remote Maritime Areas (SERMA) project, was profiled in the March-April 2010 MPA News. The project has now released a report describing a wide range of technological options for observing remote marine areas, with a focus on techniques for monitoring commercial fishing (regulated and otherwise) and vessel-based pollution. Some of the described techniques have not yet been employed for such purposes. The report Surveillance and Enforcement of Remote Maritime Areas (SERMA): Surveillance Technical Options is available at www.mcbi.org/publications/pub_pdfs/SERMA.pdf.
Available: second edition of Coral Reef Monitoring for Management
The guide Coral Reef Monitoring for Management, first published in 2001, is now available in a second edition. While the basic methods featured in the first edition remain the same, the new version offers several refinements in techniques for surveying, analysis, and reporting, especially of human perceptions and activities.
The guidebook is published by the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute in association with multiple institutional partners, and funded by the US Agency for International Development through its FISH and EcoGov2 projects. The second edition is available in English at http://oneocean.org/download. (The first edition is also available there in English, Thai, Chinese, Cambodian, and Bahasa Indonesian languages. The authors invite anyone interested in translating the second edition to contact them at pmalino [at] upmsi.ph.)