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On 7 September, Prime Minister Henry Puna of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific made a big announcement. He stated that in 2012 his country will designate a marine protected area across roughly half its exclusive economic zone. That will be a 1 million-km2 marine protected area. (The announcement is at www.cook-islands.gov.ck/view_release.php?release_id=1245.)

To put that in perspective:

MPA News

Since 1995 when it was designated as an MPA, Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico's Gulf of California has experienced a remarkable resurgence in marine life. Total fish biomass within its boundaries has increased by more than five times. The biomass of top predators has increased by more than 11 times. Both of these trends strongly counter those for fish elsewhere in the Gulf in unprotected areas (where biomass has remained level or decreased).

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Management requires funding. Likewise, sustainable management requires sustainable funding. A cornerstone of EBM is that it ensures ecosystems will continue over time to provide the services that people require and want (e.g., food, clean water, biodiversity). Without dependable ways of financing management over the long term, EBM projects are at risk of failure.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Due to human-induced climate change, sea surface temperatures are increasing. As a result, a gradual poleward shift in ocean ecosystems is underway. Described very simply, areas that were previously cold are becoming more temperate, and areas that were temperate are becoming more tropical. It is anticipated that, over time, ocean habitats and species ranges will follow the water temperature regime with which they are associated, provided there is adequate connectivity.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Report: Significant marine extinction possible unless multiple ocean stressors reduced

Multiple ocean stressors - warming, acidification, overfishing, and more - together represent a great risk to marine and human life if the current trajectory of these stressors continues, including the possibility of a major extinction event of marine species. This is the conclusion of 27 ocean experts who gathered at an April 2011 workshop at the University of Oxford, convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

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