The concept of ecosystem-based management of our oceans involves applying a holistic approach to resource management rather than focusing on a single species or sector. The basic idea is that because the elements of an ecosystem are interconnected - including species, habitats, and humans - it makes sense to attempt to manage them as a whole rather than as a series of unrelated elements.
Editor's note: Within Canada, three federal authorities each have a mandate to designate and manage marine protected areas: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Parks Canada Agency, and Environment Canada. The following essay, written collaboratively for MPA News by MPA experts in the above authorities, outlines how they are working together to integrate their MPA planning to achieve efficiencies and maximize conservation benefits.
By the Federal Marine Protected Areas Strategy Working Group
Editor's note: Soledad Luna is Director of the Instituto Nazca de Investigaciones Marina, an Ecuadorian NGO. Patricia Zurita is Senior Director of the Conservation Steward Program at Conservation International. Tannya Lozada is the Undersecretary of Natural Capital at the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment. Manfred Altamirano is the Undersecretary of Coastal Environmental Management at the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment. Luis Suárez is the Executive Director of Conservation International Ecuador.
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.