This past May at the Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC2), multiple sessions offered insights on existing MPA networks, and practitioners reflected on their experiences to this point. One of the most significant messages from the meeting was that some MPA networking initiatives have been in place long enough to begin yielding good practices. This month we examine two such networks: a state-run system of marine national parks in Victoria, Australia, and a network of fish replenishment areas to support the aquarium fishery in West Hawai`i.
The Second International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC2), held in May in Washington, DC, provided an array of findings and perspectives on the use of MPAs for ecosystem conservation and fisheries management. Some of these lessons were described in our June 2009 issue. Our coverage of the meeting continues below:
Dear MPA News,
I am writing in response to the article on MPA communications in your May 2009 issue. One success factor for MPAs is the management of local community expectations. It is essential that we are honest with communities and local stakeholders about what an MPA can and cannot achieve:
Enormous no-take areas in Western Pacific set to take effect January 2010
In May, government ministers of Western Pacific island nations agreed to add two more areas to a system of high seas fishing closures already set to take effect in January 2010. The entire system of closures will cover 1.2 million km2, and will include waters from French Polynesia to Palau. Initiated to protect tuna stocks, the closures will represent collectively the largest no-take area in the world.
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.