Sustaining MPA Benefits In a Changing Ocean: A Call To Action from the US Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory

Sustaining MPA Benefits In a Changing Ocean

This webinar originally aired on 14 March, 2019.

The Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee (MPAFAC) provides recommendations to the US Departments of Commerce (NOAA) and Interior on ways to ensure the effective design, establishment, and adaptive management of US MPAs. Created in 2003 and reauthorized by the White House in 2017, the Committee comprises 20 members representing diverse sectors and interests in ocean matters. In 2018, the Committee was directed to document examples of the ecological, economic, and cultural benefits provided by federal and other MPAs around the country, and to recommend specific actions that should be undertaken by MPA agencies to sustain those benefits in the face of rapidly changing ocean conditions and uses. After a thorough investigation, the MPAFAC found extensive, and sometimes surprising, examples of benefits from existing MPAs, including: ecological resilience; coastal storm protection; revenue from ocean tourism and recreation; cultural and historical education; diverse public engagement in ocean conservation; and capacity-building for local ocean decision-makers. The Committee also provided specific recommendations for sustaining MPA benefits, including a unanimous call to "Fully support, fund, maintain, evaluate and adaptively manage the nation's MPAs ...". In this webinar, three of the Committee's leaders, and the NOAA liaison, will provide an overview of the Committee's findings and recommendations and will discuss their implications for MPAs in the US and elsewhere.

Presented by: Brian Baird, an Ocean and Coastal Policy Advisor; Samantha Murray of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Mark Carr of the University of California Santa Cruz; and Charlie Wahle of NOAA.

Webinar co-sponsored by the NOAA National MPA Center, MPA News, and the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by OCTO and NatureServe).


I was examining the power point presentation for the webinar on: "Sustaining MPA Benefits in a Changing Ocean and feel the recommendations 2, 4 and 5 should be considered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission; Midi Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils and NOAA Fisheries entities in the Northeast (Science Center and Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office).  As  retired marine scientist and grassroots environmental activist living on Cape Cod, I see changes in surrounding ocean (Nantucket Sound and Gulf of Maine); effects of eutrophication and climate change on the "productive capacity of Essential Fish Habitat; shifts in the distribution of fish species in space & time; alterations in the marine food web (microbial food web and grazing food chain) which aren't part of EFH; and alterations in biodiversity.  None of these factors are included in the Stock Assessment Workshop/Stock Assessment Review Committee process which sets the quotas for commercial and recreational stocks and the resulting Amendments to the Fishery Management Plans for species like Summer flounder (with declining stocks) or Atlantic striped bass which are overfished (sustainable stock biomass targets) and subject to overfishing (fishing mortality target).  There needs to be a shift to an adaptive, ecosystems-based fishery management approach that doesn't assume that the marine environment is in equilibrium in the 5 year periods between baseline stock assessments; that natural mortality is not constant; environmental stressors don't have an influence on stock biomass or fishing mortality;  that changes in the food chain don't effect EFH and other human activities don't have an influence.  Could the EBM Tools Network organize a webinar to address some of these issues/potential solutions both the the  nearshore ocean in general and MPA areas in particular ?

Add new comment