MEAM and MPA News

MPA News

By Liezel C. Paraboles, Wilfredo L. Campos, and Samuel J. Gulayan

Danajon Bank is the only double barrier reef in the Philippines and across Asia. Historically, this area likely had the richest coastal marine habitats among islands and shoals in Central Philippines (e.g., extensive coral reefs, dense seagrass beds, expansive mangrove areas), and was perhaps the region’s most productive marine area. But because of continuously increasing fishing pressure brought about by an ever-growing coastal population, marine resources in Danajon Bank have been heavily exploited for decades, leading to dwindling fish catches for small-scale fishermen. Thus several NGOs and government agencies have come in to address these threats to coastal marine habitats and the living resources they harbor.

MPA News

By Jennifer O’Leary, California Polytechnic State University (adapted by MPA News)

In 2009, the Kenya Wildlife Service and California Polytechnic State Institute jointly established the Science for Active Management program (SAM) to help East African MPA managers and local fishers understand and manage their reefs. At first the program focused on a single Kenyan MPA. At that site, managers had a very low understanding of marine systems and the MPA had lost many corals. Fishers felt disengaged from MPA management and were not contributing actively to management of their fishing grounds. Most people who worked on the beaches serving vacationers had no knowledge of marine ecosystems, and the beaches had been polluted with plastic trash for decades.

MPA News

Cook Islands announces MPA will cover entire EEZ

In mid-November, the South Pacific island nation of the Cook Islands announced that the proposed Marae Moana (Cook Islands Marine Park), which has been under planning since 2012, will now cover the nation’s entire 1.9 million-km2 EEZ. Previously the plan had been for the MPA to cover just the southern half of the nation’s EEZ. The decision to expand the planned MPA was based on consultations with stakeholders in the Cook Islands’ northern island group, as well as local and outside scientific information.