Marine ecosystems are complex. Despite advances in our understanding over the past century, much remains a mystery about the linkages among species, habitats, and oceanographic factors. Thus, in managing the ocean, uncertainty is unavoidable. Policy makers and managers must make decisions despite incomplete data, imperfect models, and scientific disagreement. To account for this uncertainty, an adaptive approach is necessary: policy decisions are monitored to gauge their effectiveness, then altered as necessary to reflect what has been learned.
Recent issues of MEAM covered the central role of science in EBM, including whether science should drive the process or just inform it (MEAM 4:1, 4:2). What was not addressed is what should drive or inform the science. Everyone, including scientists, holds particular biases: pro-conservation, pro-industry, etc. And these biases, if not controlled, can affect the science generated to support EBM. The result is a mix of science and advocacy.
By Tundi Agardy, MEAM Contributing Editor (tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net)
Webinar: Real Steps toward EBM along the West Coast of the US
Date: 13 January 2011
Time: 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST (6:00-7:30 p.m. GMT)
MEAM and the EBM Tools Network are co-hosting a live webinar with lessons on real-world EBM implementation from the West Coast EBM Network, which connects local EBM efforts in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Speakers will include the network coordinator and representatives from initiatives in the network.
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools for facilitating EBM processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network, a voluntary alliance of tool users, developers, and training providers.
By Sarah Carr
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.