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By Sangeeta Mangubhai

The Vatu-i-Ra seascape in Fiji, including and surrounding Vatu-i-Ra Island, lies between Fiji’s two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It includes an extraordinary 27,000 km2 of forests, mangroves, seagrass meadows, reefs, deep channels, and seamounts.

MPA News

By Zachary Plopper

On 1 January 2019 a new law takes effect in California (US) to address commercial-scale poaching in the state’s marine protected areas. Assembly Bill 2369, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, substantially increases fines and penalties for commercial poaching in the state’s MPAs. The bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on 25 August 2018, was supported by diverse coastal stakeholders in California including conservation organizations, businesses, angler clubs, and tribes.

MPA News

By Heather Welch, Elliott Hazen, and Dana Briscoe

In the early 2000s, the dataset from (US) federal fisheries observers for California’s drift gillnet fishery was examined and a concerning pattern emerged. During warm-water years, endangered juvenile loggerhead turtles were coming closer to shore in southern California, which occasionally resulted in bycatch in drift gillnets. These were relatively rare events, which meant there was not enough distribution data to understand the underlying mechanisms, but the relationship between turtles and temperature was strong enough to warrant action. In 2003, NOAA Fisheries (the US federal fisheries agency) established the Loggerhead Conservation Area – a seasonal fisheries closure off southern California that is enacted for months between June and August when El Niño conditions are declared or forecasted to occur, or simply when sea surface temperatures are warmer than normal.

MPA News

By Anne Nelson, Lauren Wenzel, Gabrielle Johnson, and Gonzalo Cid (IMPACT Team)

The end of a year is a great time for reflection. Often there is a slower pace and some time away from work that allows a few moments to pause and plan. 

You have achievements every day in your MPAs. Yet often the challenges, threats, and constraints make us focus on what is not working instead of what is. 

MPA News

Seychelles to lead new Commonwealth Blue Charter action group on MPAs

Seychelles has announced it will lead a new intergovernmental action group on marine protected areas. The action group is under the aegis of the Commonwealth Blue Charter – a coordinated push by the Commonwealth countries to protect the ocean from an array of threats, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

OC Overview
Posted on December 20, 2018 - 3:42pm, by abrown

Created in 2003 and managed by NOAA’s National MPA Center, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPAFAC) provides actionable recommendations and policy guidance to the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior, and to their state, tribal and local counterparts, on timely issues facing MPAs throughout the coastal, marine and Great Lakes waters of the United States.  The committee’s 20 members represent diverse perspectives about marine protected areas (MPAs) and ocean management, and work together to craft consensus-based solutions to today’s important challenges.

OC Overview
Posted on December 11, 2018 - 9:07am, by raye

Drones help map sea level rise

Scientists can now get precise measurements of coastal zones through a combination of drone use and photogrammetry, which measures depth through pictures. This low-cost method could aid in protecting coastal species and towns threatened through sea-level rise. (via phys.org)

Vessel exhaust’s impact on Southern resident killer whales

Washington State scientists are collecting scat to assess if the Southern Resident pods are ingesting harmful chemicals. Analysis of the fecal matter found Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, or PAH, a seriously harmful toxin found in oil and gas. As year-long residents, the whales are constantly exposed PAH. (via The Journal of the San Juans)

Argentina Establishes 2 Marine Protected Areas in the Patagonian Sea 

Argentina has increased its MPA coverage to 126,000 square kilometers through the creation of two new MPAs - the Yaganes, which is south of Tierra del Fuego, and the Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank II in the South Atlantic. (via National Geographic)

Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a ‘Rapid Unraveling’ of the Region

The Arctic continues to melt at an unnerving rate. As more and more ice is loss, a looping event happens where heat rises from the now exposed water causing more ice to melt and so the story goes. Because of these events, we are all more likely to see unusual extreme weather patterns. (via NY Times)

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