- First round of UN treaty negotiations on high seas biodiversity wraps up (read more here and here)
- Marine protection plan presented to Bahamian government for review and approval
- Ireland reaches first milestone in MSP process, publishing report on all marine activity
- European Commission finds EU has made some progress - but not enough - on reducing pressures on marine environment
- New database allows users to find and compare conservation plans from around the world
- Resources available for teaching about ocean planning to secondary/post-secondary classrooms
- 35 percent of wetlands lost between 1970 and 2015
- Jamaica bans single use plastic bags and straws by 2019
- Training helps US communities calculate nuisance flooding frequency
- New guidance helps US practitioners incorporate habitat protection and restoration into flood mitigation activities
- Indicators developed to assess ecological resilience of five Gulf of Mexico ecosystems
- Take a survey on critical research gaps for EBM implementation in US
- Apply for a free Saildrone data mission by December 31
- European Commission calls for MSP proposals by October 23
- One Planet – One Ocean: From Science to Solutions MOOC underway – registration still available
The Skimmer & MPA News
By Tundi Agardy, Contributing Editor, MEAM. Email: tundiagardy [at] earthlink.net
I’m of two minds about restoration. On one hand, I’m amazed and encouraged by the advancements made in fixing some of the damage we’ve done to marine habitats such as salt marshes, seagrasses, mangroves, and coral and shellfish reefs. New technologies and knowledge are creating possibilities we could only dream of in the past. On the other hand, I worry about our hubris, and whether we are really fixing the damage done, or just creating the illusion that we can successfully reconstruct healthy, functioning ecosystems. And I worry that, if this illusion is accompanied by the deception that restoring ecosystems is easy, we pave the way for wholesale pillaging of the earth.
By Robert Orth, Professor of Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, Virginia. Email: jjorth [at] vims.edu
The system of barrier islands, coastal bays, and salt marshes along the Atlantic coast of Virginia’s portion of the Delmarva Peninsula represent some of the most natural, unspoiled coastal habitat along the US East Coast. Historically, finfish and shellfish resources in this region supported large fisheries. However, during the 1930s, this region underwent a dramatic ecological shift.
Last month’s EBM Toolbox column with resources for teaching about marine protected areas has been updated to include resources from the US NOAA National MPA Center and National Marine Sanctuaries network. Check it out here.
Most of the world’s MPAs are partially protected: they restrict some extractive activities but allow others. For planners and decision-makers – especially in regions where extractive resource use is high – partially protected MPAs can be easier to designate than no-take areas. The partial protection indicates to resource users that socioeconomic and conservation objectives have been balanced.
In 2016, the EBM Tools Network compiled a list of hands-on, online activities for teaching about ecosystem services and ecosystem-based management that has since been updated with several more activities. Recently, a university professor asked the Network if any similar online resources existed for teaching MPA design and management. EBM Tools Network members pooled their collective knowledge again and came up with a list of resources for teaching about MPAs at all educational levels.
To that list, MPA News has added a compilation of in-person training opportunities that are aimed at MPA professionals. The combined list of resources and trainings is below.
By Anne Nelson and the IMPACT team
How many times have you had a discussion on the potential impact of future human activities in your MPA and the conclusion is, “We don’t have enough information on that species, habitat, use, or impact”? Often the reasons for the data gaps are that there is no funding for data collection without a related project, or not enough capacity, or it’s not in someone’s plan of work to focus on the activity and there’s no direction from leadership to do the work.
By Sibylle Riedmiller and Eleanor Carter
When Chumbe Island MPA was first conceived in the early 1990s we could never have foreseen the kind of struggles we were going to encounter. Having such an original approach, with Chumbe being the first privately managed MPA in the world, we understood that it wasn’t going to be easy. Building an ecolodge on a remote island, undertaking outreach, engaging and training community members to be conservation stewards, building capacity of former fishers to become environmental education specialists, introducing high-end hospitality skills into communities with little experience in this area — these were all challenges we expected and planned for.
These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: McDermott, G. R. et al. “The blue paradox: Preemptive overfishing in marine reserves.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1802862115 (2018)
UK environment secretary calls for 30% of world ocean in MPAs by 2030
On 24 September, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called for 30% of the world ocean to be protected by 2030. The goal echoes the 30%-by-2030 target set by IUCN members two years ago. But it is rare for a politician to champion the goal specifically, particularly as most nations are still working to meet the 10%-by-2020 target for MPA coverage under Aichi Target 11. Gove’s announcement was made in New York City to coincide with the current session of the United Nations General Assembly. A UK Government press release is here. A UN Environment news article on Gove’s call is here.