If MPAs and the ecosystems and species within them had a legal right to be healthy and managed well, what effect would this have on sites? According to a campaign that proposes such legal rights, one outcome would be the end of the problem of paper parks. In other words, by allowing citizens to sue their governments on behalf of poorly managed or underfunded MPAs, this would provide a powerful new means to pressure agencies to manage their sites more effectively.
By Juan E. Bezaury-Creel, Francisco Ursúa-Guerrero, César Sánchez-Ibarra, and David Gutiérrez-Carbonell
The Revillagigedo National Park was designated by Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on 27 November 2017, exactly one hundred years after the country´s first national park was created. Revillagigedo is now continental North America´s largest fully protected MPA, covering 148,087 km² – almost twice the size of Panama. No fishing activities, mining, or oil extraction will be allowed within the national park, and only strictly regulated marine tourism activities from liveaboards will be permitted.
Three years ago, Chris Cvitanovic and a team of researchers published a study that found that only 14% of the information cited in MPA management plans was from primary scientific sources – from journals, in other words. One reason for this shortfall was that most journal articles require expensive subscriptions, which managers and their agencies cannot afford. This study was the first to document a significant obstacle for MPA managers: management is supposed to be science-based, but most of the science is hidden behind paywalls.
Much of the scientific research that could be useful to MPA management is in journals with expensive subscription fees, which managers and their agencies often can’t afford. Here are some tips on how to access science articles for free:
These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: “Effective Public Participation is Fundamental for Marine Conservation – Lessons from a Large-Scale MPA”, Coastal Management 45, 470 - 486 (2017)
Much of what we learn – in the MPA field and in life in general – comes to us informally. We receive advice from a colleague, we figure out something ourselves, or we see what works through trial and error. This kind of knowledge can be invaluable. In our November issue, MPA News asked practitioners what they wished they had known when they got started in MPAs. We are continuing to ask that question.
The subantarctic ecosystems of the French Southern Lands (Terres australes françaises, or TAF) consist of several small island groups and their surrounding waters in the southern Indian Ocean. None are permanently inhabited by humans. The ecosystems are relatively unique by virtue of their location and isolation, and are viewed as particularly vulnerable to pressures, from fishing to climate change. Nonetheless, the remoteness has historically made researching, surveilling, and supplying the areas a challenge, leaving data gaps.
Contest: “Most Beautiful Office”
MPA News’ “Most Beautiful Office” contest continues! Some MPA managers, planners, and conservationists work in relatively plain office buildings – but others work in beachfront villas, or on-the-water ranger stations, or in an actual royal castle. Do you work in a beautiful office? If so, please send us a photo! We will print entries in MPA News and invite readers to vote in our February 2018 issue. The winner will be named “Most Beautiful MPA Office in the World” and receive a limited-edition MPA News tote bag.
Following in the success of our last Ocean Series (http://films.economist.com/blancpain-ocean) The Economist has been commissioned to make another documentary about the Ocean to be screened at the World Ocean Summit in Mexico, 2018.
The film wants to examine Marine Protected Areas and those advocating the rise in size to cover 30% of the Ocean. We seek to explore the current health of the Ocean and see how overfishing, pollution and climate change are pushing our planet to its limits. We want to explore how MPAs can be used in conservation to help marine environments recover from the damage done by humanity and to provide an insurance policy for biodiversity across the globe. We also want to look into how MPAs can be effectively managed and enforced to have a meaningful impact both on marine life and surrounding communities. It’s one thing to draw a line on a map another to make that meaningful to both the marine life and the people who inhabit it. We are going to be looking at how technology can assist in the process of enforcing MPAs, using Satellites and unmanned vehicles to help police these areas.
Webinar #15 in the Annex IV Environmental Webinar Series
December 12, 2017 @ 16:00 - 17:30 UTC (8:00 am PT/11:00 am ET)
This webinar will discuss three tools that can be employed for environmental assessments. The first tool is the Tethys Management Measures tool, developed by the United States and the United Kingdom as part of the Annex IV initiative, that can be used to generate a detailed list of potential management measures for addressing environmental concerns around marine renewable energy (MRE) deployments. The second tool from the United Kingdom is the Impact Assessment Tool (IMPACT), which allows users to identify the potential key environmental impacts associated with MRE developments and to access guidelines and recommendations for how best to assess, monitor and manage these impacts. The third tool, AquaPixel, is being developed in Singapore as a GIS and data management tool developed for marine spatial planning allowing project developers, technology developers, regulators and other interested parties to ensure that marine renewable developments are optimized to find suitable sites and devices that match those sites from a technical aspect, whilst ensuring that environmental impacts on conservation, cultural heritage and socio economic factors are minimized.