In May, the Australian government declared the area of the Coral Sea under its jurisdiction to be a "conservation zone". Under Australian environmental law, the declaration provides interim protection while the area is assessed for possible inclusion in one or more Commonwealth marine reserves. The 972,000-km2 Coral Sea Conservation Zone extends from the eastward boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the edge of the Australian EEZ, where it borders the waters of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.
In May, the South African government announced its intent to designate a large, multiple-use MPA around the Prince Edward Islands - two islands in the sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean located roughly 1770 km southeast of mainland South Africa. The Prince Edward Islands MPA would total 180,633 km2 in area, covering one-third of South Africa's EEZ around the islands. The MPA would include a no-take Sanctuary Zone (4400 km2) as well as other zones with various use restrictions. Bottom-trawling and gillnetting would be banned throughout the site.
More than 1200 people from over 70 countries gathered in May in Washington, DC, at the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) and Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC2). The joint meeting provided a broad range of news and viewpoints from researchers, managers, government officials, NGOs, and commercial interests. Travel grants provided by the conference organizers supported 24 individuals from 22 countries.
MPA News attended the joint meeting and will feature selected findings in this and next month's edition:
The April 2009 edition of MPA News featured an article on the role of MPAs in ecosystem-based management (EBM). We invited readers to participate in an online poll on the subject, with the goal of measuring attitudes on the relationship between these management measures. MPA News conducted an identical poll in 2006 (MPA News 8:6).
Large areas on Mid-Atlantic Ridge closed to bottom fisheries
The long-term viability of a protected area depends on public support for it. Without broad-based backing of its goals, the protected area will have trouble meeting those goals. Building a base of support, whether from specific stakeholder groups or the community at large, requires MPA practitioners to be able to communicate effectively with their audiences. This involves not only what the practitioners say but how they say it, and especially how they involve the community in a dialogue.
The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed a plan to provide financial compensation to bottomfish and lobster-fishery permit holders affected by the designation of the 362,000-km2 Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. All commercial fishing in the MPA, located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, will officially end in 2011. By buying up permits from existing permit-holders, the compensation plan would essentially speed up that phaseout of fishing. Former President George W.
In March, a new Web-based tool to raise funds for Fijian MPAs was launched, enabling people to pay online to "adopt" corals, reefs, and mangroves in the Pacific island nation. The NGO behind it - Sustainable Fijian Reef Resources, or Sasalu Tawamudu in the Fijian language - was founded by faculty members of the University of the South Pacific in Fiji and the Georgia Institute of Technology in the U.S. The organization's goal is to help conserve Fiji's reefs and forests while promoting sustainable development in local Fijian communities.
This month: Second International MPA Congress
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.