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MPAs a key part of draft regional marine plan for SE Australia

Marine protected areas will play a key role in the coming regional marine plan for southeastern Australia, currently available in draft form and open for public comment until October 17, 2003. The plan, whose final version is scheduled for release this December, provides a broad framework for managing all ocean uses in a marine area of more than 2 million km2. It is the first step in a national effort to develop integrated management plans for each of Australia's marine regions.

MPA News

Closure of customary fishing grounds, whether for fisheries management or as part of an MPA, can strain coastal communities. Fishers, processors, and other workers dependent on fisheries for income may find few options for other employment, particularly in remote, rural areas. When prospects for alternative employment are limited, fishing-dependent communities can suffer economic hardships, including unemployment and outward migration. In areas with little or no enforcement, fishers may be tempted to resume fishing within the closures.

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Editor's note: Marion Howard served for six years as environmental advisor and MPA coordinator for CORALINA, a Colombian government agency. CORALINA manages the natural resources and sustainable development of Colombia's vast San Andres Archipelago, designated in 2000 as the Seaflower Biosphere Reserve. The marine section of the reserve is 300,000 km2.

Howard is now an independent consultant on Caribbean coastal and marine conservation issues, based in the Cayman Islands.

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Dear MPA News:

John Clark is right to be concerned about the closure of areas to fishing and other activities ("Letter to the Editor", MPA News 5:1). No-take zones should not be seen as the answer to all our management failures. Our focus needs to be on the use of a suite of MPA tools (including closed areas, sustainable multi-use areas, and wider sea-use planning) in relation to the future stewardship of the marine environment.

MPA News

Action plan provides guide for building MPA network in SE Asia

To sustain the high biodiversity and economic value of marine ecosystems in Southeast Asia, a team of government officials, academics, and NGOs has crafted a regional action plan (RAP) to guide establishment of a network of MPAs by 2012. Envisioning a representative and self-sufficient network designed to adapt to environmental change, the RAP provides a portfolio of proposals and implementation strategies, including innovative financing and communications mechanisms.

MPA News

Where there is little or no community support for a marine protected area, compliance with MPA rules may be low and enforcement difficult. This point often underscores the adoption of community-based processes in planning protected areas. However, even with strong local involvement in planning, some level of non-compliance will likely persist, particularly at sites with no regular enforcement presence.

MPA News

The draft plan to re-zone the massive Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, proposing to set aside roughly one-third of the park as no-take areas, has drawn strong reactions from stakeholder groups throughout the state of Queensland (Australia). Released in June and open for public comment until August 4, 2003, the plan is expected to undergo changes before heading forward in the legislative process.

MPA News

Editor's note: Richard Offen has raised funds for the National Trust, a UK conservation NGO, since 1989. In 1993, he undertook management of the Trust's Neptune Coastline Campaign to acquire and maintain outstanding natural or historic coastal land in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Through the campaign, the Trust has protected 600 miles of coastline, now privately owned by the organization (MPA News 4:10).

MPA News

Dear MPA News:

The worldwide clarion call for "no-take zones" has me worried. Have we so failed in management that we must now totally close MPAs to fishing and other uses? Controlled and balanced use of resources through management programs used to be our objective. Now we seem to be giving up on management and turning to closed areas as the solution for all our failures.

Closed areas may seem easier in execution but could be seen as a simple-minded approach compared to intelligent management of activities in MPAs, which includes exclusion in certain replenishment areas.

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