The more fish an ecosystem contains, the more carbon is being captured and stored there. In this sense, MPAs could be viewed as an important management option for conserving and enhancing fish carbon services. Theoretically the financial value of well-managed ‘fish carbon’ could even be harnessed to support MPAs. Is there some way we can make this idea of fish carbon actually work as an MPA financing tool? We speak with several experts about the possibilities.
Low prices for blue carbon credits undermine "not only the MPA financing aim of blue carbon schemes, but also the climate change mitigation potential," writes Peter Jones of University College London.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, MPA News is continuing to compile related resources for our readers. Here is our latest collection....
By Erich Hoyt
For the past four years, a core group of the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force has dedicated its time to launching a new tool - Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) - to highlight areas that are important for one or more marine mammal species, and which have the potential to be managed for conservation. These IMMAs are already leading to conservation results.
UN report card: 10% MPA coverage target is not met yet, but could be by year’s end
In 2010, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity set a series of 20 targets — the Aichi Biodiversity Targets — to protect global biodiversity by 2020, including a target for 10% MPA coverage (Target 11). Now that 2020 is nearly over, the UN has released a final report card on progress toward the targets, and the main takeaway is that none of them has been met completely, including Target 11. However, the 10% MPA coverage figure may be met by the end of this year.
Editor’s note: In 2012, the US state of California formally adopted a statewide network of 124 marine protected areas (MPAs), covering over 16% of state waters. A new book Beyond Polarization: Public Process and the Unlikely Story of California's Marine Protected Areas analyzes what allowed the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to succeed in a time of political polarization and fiscal constraint. We interviewed book author Steven Yaffee and process participant Kaitilin Gaffney to get their perspectives about the MLPA Initiative and how conservation action can be achieved at times of political polarization. Yaffee is a professor of natural resources and environmental policy at the University of Michigan, and Gaffney is director of the Ocean, Coast, and Fisheries Program at the Resources Legacy Fund, which oversaw the MLPA Initiative, a public-private partnership between the state of California and philanthropic donors. She participated in the MLPA Initiative as director of the Pacific Program of Ocean Conservancy.
- New marine planning and management trainings added to Skimmer database
- Report assesses challenges and opportunities facing ocean economy post-COVID
- New information hub for monitoring, forecasting, managing, researching Sargassum
- New policy brief links ecological connectivity to effective ocean governance
- UN published framework for MSP in high seas
- Review of economic impacts of MSP available
- Guide provides guidance and examples for drafting MSP legislation
- Sharks missing from 19 percent of world’s coral reefs
- Northeast Pacific and Northwest Atlantic experiencing marine heatwaves
- Viral and bacterial outbreaks among marine mammal populations on the rise
- La Niña conditions likely through at least Northern Hemisphere winter
- New ocean ecoprovince classification developed with machine learning
- More research shows microplastic in ocean vastly underestimated (here, here)
- Plastic flow into ocean could triple by 2040, but existing technologies could reduce current flow by 80%
- China revises rules for distant-water fishing fleets to curb illegal fishing, improve sustainability
- No countries meet 2020 targets for ocean-focused sustainable development goal
- COVID-19 pandemic makes achievement of SDG goals more unlikely
- Report suggests ways to strengthen Arctic Ocean management
- Study estimates benefits of protecting 30% of planet would outweigh costs 5:1
Editor’s note: In our last issue, The Skimmer heard from coastal and marine tourism operators and experts from around the world (including Indonesia, Brazil, the Mediterranean, and the US) about the diverse ways that the COVID-19 pandemic is currently affecting coastal and marine tourism, how it is likely to change coastal and marine tourism in the future, and what impacts this is likely to have on coastal and marine ecosystems. We received comments from additional experts about how the pandemic is affecting other communities such as the surfing community and British Columbia, Canada, and aspects of coastal/marine tourism such as beach management.
When MPA News reported on blue carbon back in 2016, it was still just a concept, discussed as a way that MPAs could help fight climate change. But now two MPA projects are implementing blue carbon strategies as a source of revenue – the first MPAs to do so. They are generating credits based on the tons of carbon their projects have captured and stored, then selling those credits to global buyers who want to offset their own carbon emissions.
This is a whole new way of monetizing MPAs. The timing is potentially good: the global market for carbon credits is expected to grow substantially as nations and other entities, like airlines, strive to meet various emission-reduction commitments. According to one of the projects selling blue carbon credits, the current demand for them may be as much as a thousand times greater than current supply.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, MPA News continues to compile resources that may be of value to our readers. Here is our latest batch:
The lockdown seriously impacted Mediterranean MPAs: Results of survey (MedPAN) – MedPAN’s survey of 35 practitioners found reductions in tourism and fishing at MPAs across the Mediterranean, as well as several other impacts.
Brief videos by World Heritage site managers on how their sites are coping with the COVID-19 crisis (UNESCO) – These videos include testimonials from four marine sites: Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania), Komodo National Park (Indonesia), Sundarbans National Park (India), and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines).
Managing Buccoo Reef Marine Park (Trinidad and Tobago Newsday) – During the temporary closure of Buccoo Reef Marine Park amid the pandemic, Tobago policymakers used the downtime to institute a new user policy and permit system with the goal of transforming the MPA from ineffective to effective.