Due to an impasse in recent weeks between US President Donald Trump and Congress over whether to spend billions of dollars to extend the wall on the nation’s southern border, about one-quarter of the government was shut down – with no funding to conduct operations – and most employees furloughed for a period that stretched to 35 days. Finally, on 25 January, President Trump announced the full government would be reopened for three weeks to allow time for more negotiations on the border wall. However, if there is no resolution by mid-February, another shutdown remains a possibility.
The Skimmer & MPA News
A bit of big news from us: MEAM is going to be changing its name to The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management – or The Skimmer, for short – next month. This new name (which in long form still references our old name MEAM) comes with an amazing new logo designed by Larrea Young of Little Knids. What’s not changing? Our focus on bringing you critical insights for the sustainable management and conservation of marine ecosystems.
Why the change you ask? About a year ago, we started experimenting with a new type of feature – “Skimmers” – with the aim of providing a quick synopsis (a “bird’s eye view” if you will) of the latest news and research on a topic. We have covered ocean plastics, climate-related changes in the Arctic, how weather and climate extremes are impacting the ocean, managing ocean ecosystems in a changing climate, what managers should know about ocean bacteria and viruses, and (this month) gender as Skimmer articles, and are now taking this as the name of the publication. Not all of our articles will be in this specific format, although many will be. And in general the new name represents the type of integrative and easily and rapidly digestible information that marine conservation and management practitioners need – and which we’ll continue to provide.
“If we only think of fishing as men in boats pulling nets out of the water, we’re missing half the story. When we only tell half the story we’re in danger of underestimating how many animals are being caught, what types of animals are being caught, and why types of habitats are important for fishing. Not only that, we’re missing how families feed themselves, how they pay for school or health care, or how they share with their neighbors. When we miss half the story we are more likely to make fishing and conservation management decisions that don’t work.”
---- Dr. Danika Kleiber
- New book (available for free) assesses experience with implementing ecosystem approaches in the EU and beyond
- New publication and videos highlight practical ways to communicate EBM
- Responses requested for survey on Ecosystem-based Approach as sustainability tool
- Leading ocean conservationist sees only three major ocean conservation victories for 2018
- Seychelles launches first sovereign blue bond to support sustainable ocean projects
- Proposal to create world’s largest marine sanctuary in Antarctic fails
- Webinar recording provides an overview of significance of recent US elections for US ocean management (another analysis here)
- US federal government shutdown harmful for marine conservation and management
- Modern Fish Act to amend Magnuson Stevens Act approved by US Congress
- US mid-Atlantic regional council moves ahead on partnership activities, including ocean forum in spring
- Errors found in recent ocean warming study, reducing certainty of conclusions
- 75-80 percent chance of a moderate El Niño event forming in coming months
- New study finds Eastern Pacific El Niño events will intensify and become more frequent with global warming
- European Atlas of Marine Life launched
- European Commission and IOC-UNESCO launch MSPGlobal initiative to promote cross-border MSP
- $10bn pledged to protect oceans at Our Ocean Conference
- Sustainable Blue Economy Conference concludes with 62 pledges
- New framework provides guidance for sustainable investments in ocean industries
Not for us the leviathans, biofouled vessels
entering and departing ports and harbours in hours or days—
we take our trip on the slow boats: skiffs and buoys, carboys
and a whole fishing dock that arrives one day without sound
and like a massive skirted table on the surprised Oregon coast.
Nearly 500 MPA practitioners worldwide tuned in to a pair of webinars in early December 2018. The online events examined the standards all MPAs should meet, and defined what is and is not an MPA. They also presented the emerging consensus around types of MPAs according to their stage of establishment and level of protection. These clarifications may well play a fundamental role in determining whether the world meets international targets to protect 10% of the ocean by 2020. They may also influence the MPA field’s post-2020 agenda.
A new online collection system for MPA user fees – gathering entrance charges, annual passes, day passes, dive tags, and other payments – is available to help managers collect the fees safely and easily. It also collects demographic and contact information on MPA users in an easy-to-access database. This latter feature allows managers to understand their user base and, if desired, engage again with previous visitors.
By Sangeeta Mangubhai
The Vatu-i-Ra seascape in Fiji, including and surrounding Vatu-i-Ra Island, lies between Fiji’s two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It includes an extraordinary 27,000 km2 of forests, mangroves, seagrass meadows, reefs, deep channels, and seamounts.
By Zachary Plopper
On 1 January 2019 a new law takes effect in California (US) to address commercial-scale poaching in the state’s marine protected areas. Assembly Bill 2369, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, substantially increases fines and penalties for commercial poaching in the state’s MPAs. The bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on 25 August 2018, was supported by diverse coastal stakeholders in California including conservation organizations, businesses, angler clubs, and tribes.
By Heather Welch, Elliott Hazen, and Dana Briscoe
In the early 2000s, the dataset from (US) federal fisheries observers for California’s drift gillnet fishery was examined and a concerning pattern emerged. During warm-water years, endangered juvenile loggerhead turtles were coming closer to shore in southern California, which occasionally resulted in bycatch in drift gillnets. These were relatively rare events, which meant there was not enough distribution data to understand the underlying mechanisms, but the relationship between turtles and temperature was strong enough to warrant action. In 2003, NOAA Fisheries (the US federal fisheries agency) established the Loggerhead Conservation Area – a seasonal fisheries closure off southern California that is enacted for months between June and August when El Niño conditions are declared or forecasted to occur, or simply when sea surface temperatures are warmer than normal.