The global MPA field has been given more time to reach the target of protecting 10% of all marine and coastal ecoregions in protected areas. The target, set in 2005 by a subsidiary body of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), was supposed to be met by 2012. But the latest calculations of global MPA coverage show the world falling far short of the goal with just 1% of marine waters currently in MPAs. Although some coastal countries have surpassed the goal in their own waters, the great majority of nations has not.
Mark Spalding and Kristina Gjerde were principal contributors to the report Global Ocean Protection: Current Trends and Future Opportunities, which analyzed global MPA trends in preparation for the October biodiversity meeting in Nagoya. Spalding, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy, was one of the report's editors. Gjerde, high seas policy advisor to IUCN, co-authored two chapters of the report.
As is typically the case with major international conservation meetings, each day of the CBD Conference in Nagoya, Japan, featured a whirlwind of announcements on new policies, publications, and other initiatives. Here are some announcements of interest to the MPA community:
The past two months have seen significant changes in global MPA maps. In addition to the 544,000-km2 Chagos Marine Protected Area taking effect on 1 November, substantial new MPAs have been designated in the North Atlantic, South America, and Western Australia that redraw marine protection in these areas.
A five-year study on the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of MPAs worldwide has released a series of three booklets on its findings. Aimed primarily at policy-makers, the concise reports present lessons gathered from more than 70 sites in 23 tropical countries. The publications recommend how to implement MPAs to maximize benefits for people and nature.
When the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was rezoned in 2004, boosting its no-take percentage from 4.7% to over 33%, policymakers anticipated that some adverse impacts would be felt by commercial fishermen. The new closures would displace fishermen from some of their accustomed fishing grounds, and the displacement could lead to lower catches and/or higher costs from their having to fish elsewhere. In turn, these impacts could have financial ripple effects on fishing-related businesses (wholesalers, processors) and communities on shore.
Letter: Many Chagossian refugees support the new MPA
Dear MPA News:
The September-October 2010 issue of MPA News was brought to my attention due to the article on MPAs and indigenous people, including its mention of the new Chagos Islands Marine Protected Area. I was born on the island of Diego Garcia in Chagos in 1970. When I was one year old, my family and all other remaining Chagossians were evicted from the islands to make way for a US/UK joint military base on Diego Garcia. We moved to Mauritius, and I now live in the UK.
Seychelles announces "world's first carbon-neutral nature reserve"
The government of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean has named Cousin Island Special Reserve the "world's first carbon-neutral nature reserve". The carbon-neutral status reflects a desire by the protected area's management (Nature Seychelles, an NGO) to offset the greenhouse gases produced by tourists to Cousin Island each year. This includes thousands who fly to Seychelles from Europe.
This "Building Resilience" feature is contributed by the Reef Resilience program of The Nature Conservancy (www.reefresilience.org). The program provides reef managers with tools to build resilience into management activities.
By Rebecca Cerroni and Stephanie Wear, The Nature Conservancy
For ecosystem-based management (EBM) to be successful, science is needed to understand the natural system, social system, and governance system - as well as how each one interacts with the others. EBM, at its core, is policy based on scientific evidence and knowledge. The more robust the evidence and knowledge, the more robust the policy can be.