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The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Multinational EBM initiative takes shape with objective to remain "Africa-owned"

A coastal and marine ecosystem-based management (EBM) initiative in the southwest Indian Ocean remains distinctly "Africa-owned" as the project confronts inadequate scientific knowledge and what some experts describe as lack of effective regional management.

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Modern fisheries management has often guided fishermen to select the large individuals of targeted stocks, either by using size-selective gear or releasing small individuals back to the water. The reasoning has been that this allows smaller, younger individuals to grow up to reproductive age, thereby sustaining the stock.

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Due to climate change it is possible that the summertime Arctic Ocean could become ice-free by mid-century, according to the worst-case scenario of warming. This would open the relatively pristine Arctic marine ecosystem to industrial activities including fishing, shipping, and petroleum exploration and drilling. Arctic nations are already staking claims to portions of the Arctic seabed beyond their traditional 200-nm EEZs, seeking national jurisdiction over the resources there.

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Names of newly discovered species to be auctioned for MPA-related conservation

Looking for new ways to raise funds for your MPA? If so, take note of "The Blue Auction", occurring 20 September in Monaco. The event will sell the rights to name several species of fish discovered during surveys of the Bird's Head Seascape region of Indonesia. The surveys, conducted in 2006, were part of an ongoing initiative to establish ecosystem-based management in the region, including designation of MPA networks (MPA News 8:4).

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Conservation of ocean resources is typically a reactive exercise. Managers respond to the degradation of ecosystems or depletion of species by taking steps to try to restore what was there before. Most MPAs are, in essence, an attempt to re-establish a more "natural" state where human activity has already had an impact.

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Editor's note: Jennifer Brown is a Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) ecosystem scientist at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in the U.S. Lisa Wooninck is a research fisheries biologist for the (U.S.) National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Marine Protected Areas Center.

By Jennifer A. Brown and Lisa Wooninck

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Australia formally designates MPA network for Southeast region

On 5 July, Australia formally designated a network of 13 new MPAs in its Southeast marine region, in waters off southern New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and eastern South Australia. The network covers 226,000 km2 and will come into effect on 3 September 2007.

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Over the past decade and a half, tourism in the Galapagos Islands has boomed: from 40,000 visitors in 1990 to 140,000 in 2006. This has had a domino effect on the islands, according to a draft report by the Charles Darwin Foundation, soon to be released. Rising tourism has promoted the growth of local businesses and, in turn, increased immigration - doubling the islands' human population over the same period.

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