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.
El Niño events will intensify under global warming
Mekong Delta needs ecosystem-based solutions to climate change
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)
Celebrating 20 years of Indigenous protected areas, a good news story in a week of turmoil
Recently, members of the Australian government and Indigenous Rangers went to a barbecue. The event celebrated Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and the people who live in and manage them. Created 20 years ago, IPAs continue to serve as land and water conservation zones. This barbecue is to celebrate the stewardship of the Rangers and the land itself. (via The Guardian)
Could California’s ocean ranches solve a global food shortage and fix the seafood trade deficit?
The Catalina Sea Ranch is a 100 acre plot of ocean located six miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, California. At the ranch farmer Phil Cruver grows mussels. However he dreams a larger dream. Mr. Cruver plans to expand the ranch to 3,000 acres splitting it evenly between mussel, seaweed, and cage cultures. (via The Washington Post)
As the 2020 deadline grows nearer for nations to set aside 10% of waters in well-managed MPAs (Aichi Target 11), planners are being challenged to provide advice on what to protect and where to protect it. Climate change is making those decisions harder. As evidence mounts that warming oceans are already having effects on ecosystems, planners are faced with forecasting the changes the future could hold – then figuring how MPAs could account for those changes.
By Anne Nelson, Lauren Wenzel, and Gabrielle Johnson (IMPACT Team)
Kudos to the examples of proactive climate management in last month’s MPA News coverage. The examples from colleagues in Hawaii, Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean, and Madagascar provide important lessons to consider with your MPA team as you move through your own climate assessment, adaptation planning, and plan review. Discussing these examples with your team can be a good way to start, restart, or reevaluate your climate planning process.
In the past half-decade, the annual Our Ocean conference has become the primary venue for nations and NGOs to announce new commitments to more sustainable ocean management, including the designation of new MPAs.
By Kerry Sink and Tamsyn Livingstone
On 25 October 2018, South Africa announced that the nation’s Cabinet approved 20 new marine protected areas for designation in 2019. The announcement represented the long-awaited implementation of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy Marine Protected Area Network. This establishes South Africa as a leader in African ocean protection, and contributes to protection of both the Southeast Atlantic and the Southwest Indian Ocean – a uniquely South African opportunity!