Within the extensive Russian system of protected areas is a network of strictly protected nature reserves, called zapovedniks (zap-o-VED-niks). Dating back to 1916 when the first zapovednik was designated, this network now has 100 terrestrial and marine sites, stretching from the Black Sea to the Bering Sea. Of these, the most easterly is off the coast of Kamchatka: the Komandorsky Zapovednik, two mountainous islands surrounded by a 30-mile no-take zone. With 34,633 km2 of marine area, it is Russia's largest MPA.
Scorecard available for management effectiveness
Measuring the success of an MPA in meeting its goals can involve a significant amount of fieldwork and data collection - a challenge for resource-strapped MPAs. A new scorecard, produced by the World Bank, provides a simple, site-level tool to help managers and stakeholders assess their MPAs without additional field level research. It is available online in PDF format at http://www.mpascorecard.net.
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Studies of no-take marine reserves around the world have suggested that, on average, total biological diversity inside reserves is higher than outside. That said, within a designated marine reserve over time, each species or group of species can respond by increasing in population, decreasing in population, or having no response at all. The response depends on a range of factors, including predator-prey relationships.
Several international, inter-related projects are underway in the Caribbean to strengthen the region's MPAs and MPA networks. Comprising a mix of established and new initiatives, the projects together represent a boom for Caribbean protected area efforts. Below, MPA News presents a brief guide to these initiatives:
Managing a global network of MPAs in which 30% of each habitat type is protected would likely cost US$12-14 billion annually - less than what is spent on international subsidies for commercial fishing, according to researchers. In a study published in June in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of UK scientists surveyed the management costs of 83 well-managed marine parks worldwide, then used the findings to model costs for a global MPA system.
Germany: 38% of marine waters proposed as MPAs
More than one third of Germany's total marine area could consist of MPAs under a national plan to designate 10 sites in the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as protected areas. Designed in part to bring Germany into compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, the plan would raise the protected percentage of all of Germany's marine waters (its EEZ and territorial sea combined) to 38 percent. Germany nominated the 10 sites - located in the Baltic Sea and North Sea - to the European Commission in May.
Drilling for oil and natural gas from the seabed is significantly more costly than drilling on land, due to engineering and transportation challenges in the marine environment. But as terrestrial petroleum supplies in many nations near or exceed their peak production, the hunt for oil and natural gas is increasingly taking place on the continental shelf, and even in the deep sea. With this expansion in offshore exploration and development, the opportunities for conflict with other resource users increase, as do environmental concerns related to potential oil spills and other pollution.
Interview with Yvonne Sadovy, Society for the Conservation of Reef Fish Aggregations
Many commercially important fishes reproduce in spawning aggregations that range in size from just a few individuals to tens of thousands. Because such gatherings can yield large catches and are often easy to locate again once discovered, spawning aggregations are attractive to fishermen. Overexploitation can occur quickly, as has happened for several reef-based species worldwide, like groupers, snappers and emperor fish.