Welcome to the first edition of The OpenChannels Overview! Here, we'll briefly summarize each week's most interesting and/or important information going on in the world of sustainable ocean management and conservation. Check back regularly, as we'll continually update this post throughout the week as we add more news.
When each of us faces a challenge in life, our first reaction is often to ask a trusted friend or colleague, “Have you also faced this? If so, how did you handle it?”
It’s the same in MPA planning and management. Practitioners face a common set of challenges – enforcement, engaging stakeholders, monitoring, fundraising, and more – and an array of solutions have been developed at sites worldwide. It benefits all practitioners for these solutions and other MPA knowledge to be shared widely.
By Jon Day
The Representative Areas Program (RAP), which rezoned the entire Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in a single planning initiative, was at the time the most comprehensive process of community involvement and participatory planning for any environmental issue in Australia. The outcome was that one-third of the Marine Park was declared as highly protected no-take zones in 2004, with the remainder of the park also zoned to provide various levels of protection.
Many of the lessons learned from RAP remain relevant today. The following 25 lessons are excerpted from a paper published in Coastal Management journal in December 2017, “Effective public participation is fundamental for marine conservation – lessons from a large scale MPA”. The paper is available for free here. More detail on each of the lessons is in the paper.
February and March were busy months for announcing large new MPAs. Seychelles, Brazil, and Chile all reported significant new sites.
In a move that has been in the making for the past five years, the Australian government formally announced its plans in March 2018 to scale back protections for the nation’s system of marine parks. Overall, 80% of Australia’s marine park waters will now be open to commercial fishing, up from 63% under the system’s original design. And 97% of Commonwealth waters within 100 km of the coast will be open to recreational fishing.
By Rene A. Abesamis, Silliman University - Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management
Knowing how far the larvae of fish species disperse can be invaluable to designing effective networks of MPAs. But in a developing nation like the Philippines, where over 1000 community-managed MPAs have been established over the past two decades, such science is often not available, particularly at the community level. So planners have often made educated guesses when planning their MPAs, based on traditional knowledge and what science could be accessed.
These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Save the date for IMPAC5 in Vancouver
Organizers of the next International Marine Protected Areas Congress – IMPAC5, to be hosted in Vancouver, Canada – have announced the dates. The conference will be held in 2021 from 27 September - 1 October.
In lieu of a lead article this month, we spent our time expanding MEAM’s compilation of ocean planning and management training opportunities to help current and future practitioners connect with useful opportunities to add to their knowledge and skill sets.
A new method helps ocean planners and stakeholders find the best locations for a wide range of ocean uses, while minimizing negative interactions among ocean uses and environmental impacts.