Tunas, sharks, sea turtles, and other large oceanic predators concentrate in diversity "hotspots" much like those that exist on land, according to new research by a team of German and Canadian scientists. The distinct locations at which these hotspots occur - at intermediate latitudes close to habitat features like coral reefs, shelf breaks, and seamounts - could provide the basis for open-ocean marine reserves to protect threatened species, say the researchers.
BOX: The Mediterranean - A Semi-Enclosed Sea Rich in Biodiversity, Culture, and MPA Initiatives
"The Mediterranean Sea is a place of paradox and surprises. Despite many people's image of the area as being vastly overpopulated, with built up shorelines, polluted waters, and over-exploited resources, the Mediterranean is in actuality a thriving, diverse ecosystem upon which people of many different cultures depend...."
Editor's note: Jake Rice is director of the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He manages the peer review and application of marine and fisheries science to policy formation and management decisionmaking. In this perspective piece, he expands on remarks he made at the May 2003 meeting of the Science and Management of Protected Areas Association (SAMPAA), held in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
By Jake Rice, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada
Last month, MPA News reported on the development of alternative livelihoods for fishermen, particularly those displaced by closure of fishing grounds, either for fisheries management or as part of an MPA. We cited a CDN$4-billion (US$2.8-billion) effort by the Canadian government since 1992 to help communities in Atlantic Canada adjust to cod fishery closures, through a license buyout, early retirement, skills training, and other programs. The case focused on insights from the government agencies that provided these programs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.