The Skimmer & MPA News
The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific knowledge on marine litter and ocean plastics. It is based in part on a longer, more detailed article from November 2017 by MPA News’ affiliated service Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM).
If you are interested in this topic, please note that OCTO – the organization that produces MPA News and MEAM – also runs the global discussion list on marine litter and ocean plastics: MarineDebris.Info. It is a thriving community. In April 2018, for example, there were over 170 member posts to the list. To subscribe to the MarineDebris.Info email discussion list, click here.
By Carlos A. Espinosa and Néstor J. Windevoxhel
The challenges facing coastal and marine protected areas in Central America remain as serious as ever. And in some ways they are getting worse.
In last month’s MPA News, we examined the ongoing debate over the value of large vs. small MPAs: whether MPA designations should focus on large offshore sites or smaller inshore ones. This debate has been going on for many years, and we’ve reported on aspects of it several times.
By Anne Nelson
The effective management of MPA networks requires an array of elements. These include having adequate technical capacity of site managers, good science, committed leadership at multiple levels (sites, agencies, and policy makers), shared goals among MPAs, and monitoring of the network’s ecological effectiveness.
Importantly, it also requires good connectivity among site managers – in other words, a social network.
These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: Suchley, A. & Alvarez-Filip, L. “Local human activities limit marine protection efficacy on Caribbean coral reefs.” Conservation Letters e12571 (2018)
Volcano fills in MPA with lava
A small, inshore, no-take MPA in the US state of Hawai‘i has been covered up by lava from ongoing volcanic eruptions on the archipelago’s Big Island. The 0.2-km2 Wai'opae Tidepools Marine Life Conservation District was designated in 2003, and was popular with snorkelers and swimmers. Now it is covered by lava rock. Hundreds of nearby homes were also destroyed by the lava flow.
Editor’s note: The Skimmer is a MEAM feature where we briefly review the latest news and research on a topic. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 4th International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans (ECCWO), held in Washington, DC. This symposium gathered scientists and managers from more than 50 nations to discuss the latest science on climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems, identify climate risks and knowledge gaps, and determine best ways to respond to sustain ocean resources and communities. Here is a quick summary of some recent and brand new research findings presented at the symposium on how weather and climate extremes are impacting marine ecosystems, as well as insights shared by speakers. (Learn about climate change tools and resources presented at the symposium in this month’s EBM Toolbox). Part 2 of the Skimmer, coming out next month, will feature more research and insights from ECCWO on how we can manage and conserve ocean ecosystems in a rapidly changing climate.
We know that extreme weather events (such as marine heatwaves) and other climate change-associated effects (including ocean warming, ocean deoxygenation, and ocean acidification) are dramatically altering marine ecosystems. But we are still figuring out the how, how much, and why of these changes. Some perspectives on what we know and what we still need to know:
- UN negotiations on Paris climate agreement fall short; emergency negotiation session added
- UN sustainable development goal for oceans getting least attention and resources
- UN IMO adopts strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships
- India to ban all single use plastic by 2022
- G7 countries negotiate international charter to eliminate plastic waste
- Marine heatwaves becoming longer and more frequent
- Study finds climate change may make MPAs largely uninhabitable by current species by 2100
- Study predicts range shifts for hundreds of North American marine species under climate change
- Study examines mandates and challenges for EBM in the EU, Canada, and US
- Massive online open course on assessing and managing Large Marine Ecosystems now open for enrollment
- Conservation X Labs competition seeks technology solutions to ocean conservation challenges
- New reports released on ocean hazards and risk and how the global insurance industry needs to act
- Massachusetts and Rhode Island choose developers for offshore wind projects to provide 1,200MW energy; commercial fishers in US Northeast concerned about conflicts
- US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management seeking public input on potential locations for offshore wind leases off US Atlantic Coast
- Number of overfished stocks in the US reaches all time low
- NOAA report says high tide flooding may occur half the year along US East Coast/Gulf of Mexico by end of century
- US House of Representatives rejects most proposed budget cuts for NOAA but defunds some federal MSP and EBM activities
- Want to know how the Trump administration is changing US environmental policy? A short version. A detailed version.
Editor's note: The goal of The EBM Toolbox is to promote awareness of tools and methods for facilitating EBM and MSP processes. It is brought to you by the EBM Tools Network (www.ebmtools.org), a network to share knowledge, tools, and experiences to promote ecosystem-based management of coastal and marine environments. This column presents some of the new tools, resources, and initiatives for dealing with the effects of climate change on ocean ecosystems that were presented at the recent International Symposium on Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans, held in Washington, DC.