Marine protected areas (MPAs) can play an important role in promoting EBM in coastal seas, across ocean basins, and within large marine ecosystems. In working examples of EBM from around the world, the regulatory regimes that are able to move management from a single-species focus to a more holistic ecosystem focus are commonly embedded in protected areas. Examples of EBM that occur wholly within an MPA - from Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to Europe's Wadden Sea National Parks - are large-scale and integrative, considering many ecosystems in their management.
By Katherine Short
Manager, Marine Network Initiative Support, WWF International, Switzerland. E-mail: kshort [at] wwfint.org
By Vera N. Agostini
Scientist, Global Marine Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, Seattle, U.S. E-mail: vagostini [at] tnc.org
By Jon Day
Director of Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Use, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville, Australia. E-mail: j.day [at] gbrmpa.gov.au
Marine protected areas, especially large multiple-use areas like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on Australia's east coast, provide many lessons for marine managers on how to implement ecosystem-based management. However, MPAs are only part of the equation for EBM.
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of software tools for facilitating EBM processes, and to provide advice on using those tools effectively. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a voluntary alliance of leading tool users, developers, and training providers.
The economic meltdown that began last year in the U.S. financial industry has now spread nearly everywhere, affecting industry, governments, and households around the world. This global financial crisis will likely impact marine protected area planning and management as well, through cuts in private and public funding, decreased global tourism, and other impacts.
This month MPA News asks MPA practitioners how they foresee the crisis affecting their sites or institutions, and what steps they are taking to prepare for it. Their answers are below:
A new Web-based tool for planning MPAs has debuted as part of the ongoing initiative to create a network of MPAs off the coast of the U.S. state of California (the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative - see MPA News 8:11 and 9:1). The tool, called MarineMap, is allowing stakeholders and resource managers to experiment with different MPA designs on their own computers, at their own pace.
It is rare for marine protected areas to be mentioned in the International Journal of Epidemiology, which covers issues affecting human health and illness. But an article in a recent issue of the journal examines the relationship between increasing human demand for fish and the declining health of our ocean ecosystems. The article suggests that recommendations from health advocates that people eat more fish are on a collision course with recommendations from biologists that we conserve fish stocks.
Namibia designates first MPA
The African nation of Namibia has designated its first MPA - the Namibian Islands' Marine Protected Area. It covers nearly 9600 km2 of sea area off the country's southern coastline and includes all of Namibia's islands. Planning of the MPA began in 2005 and included consultations with stakeholders on zoning and other issues.
On 6 January 2009 in his final month in office, President George W. Bush designated three vast new MPAs in U.S. waters in the Pacific Ocean. Encompassing a total area of roughly 505,000 km2, the three MPAs are: