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MPA News

By Catherine Piante

The PHAROS4MPAs project, coordinated by WWF over the past two years, has explored how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by several maritime sectors, and how the environmental impacts of those sectors can be prevented or minimized.

The sectors studied were maritime transport, offshore windfarms, cruises, leisure boating, small-scale commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and marine aquaculture. The project has released a set of practical recommendations – excerpted below – for MPA managers, maritime spatial planning (MSP) authorities, and businesses.

MPA News

Scientists invited to sign letter supporting 30x30 target for MPAs

Over 100 marine scientists have already signed a letter calling on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to set a target to safeguard 30% of the ocean in a network of “highly or fully protected, well-managed MPAs and other effective area-based conservation measures” by 2030. The letter, coordinated by Marine Conservation Institute, remains open for more signatories as of this writing (mid-June 2020). To read the letter and add your signature, click here.

MPA News

With first-hand reports from ten MPA practitioners worldwide:

  • We must be laser-focused on actions to keep our institutions and work afloat, by Nirmal Jivan Shah
  • Adapting on the fly to staffing and program challenges, by Emma Doyle
  • MPA monitoring organization loses its volunteers and financial base, by Alan Kavanagh
  • Long-term financial management of Dutch Caribbean MPAs will need to change, by Kalli De Meyer
  • This is an opportunity for governments to help fishermen support MPAs, by Javier Corcuera Quiroga
  • Success of MPAs depends on support from stakeholders, whose priorities may be changing, by Özkan Anil
  • MPA that relies on yacht tourism revenue is optimistic for a rebound, by Joseph Ierna, Jr.
  • Conducting fish surveys during this quiet time to understand the impact of people on MPAs, by Ruthy Yahel and Simon Nemtzov
  • Partnering with law enforcement for increased patrols, by Claire Arre
  • This challenge is likely to be harder than any before, by Sibylle Riedmiller
MPA News

Journal article

  • Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity conservation – click here

MPA cases

  • How researchers are studying the 0.4-km2 Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Hawai`i, where daily visitation has dropped from 3000 people a day to zero – click here
  • How the pandemic has led to an increase in zoning offenses in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – click here
  • How the collapse in cruise ship business has upended the budget for Glacier Bay National Park in the US – click here
  • How one MPA, Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar, has set up a crowdfunding campaign to help support it through this time – click here
MPA News

These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.

Article: Gownaris, N.J. et al. Gaps in protection of important ocean areas: a spatial meta-analysis of ten global mapping initiatives. Frontiers in Marine Science 6:650 (2019).

Finding: There have been numerous initiatives led by UN agencies or NGOs to map globally important marine areas, with each initiative applying its own set of criteria. This study is the first to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus among them, and conduct gap analyses at a global scale. It finds that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identified by as many as seven overlapping initiatives. 

MPA News

Niue designates large MPA

In late April, the government of the South Pacific island nation of Niue formally designated the 127,000-km2 Moana Mahu Marine Protected Area, covering 40% of its exclusive economic zone. The MPA will be off-limits to commercial fishing, and is being paired with a downscaling of tuna fishing effort in Niue’s waters. The nation had announced its intent to designate the MPA in 2017 at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: The COVID-19 pandemic is dramatically affecting the lives of many, if not most, of Skimmer readers right now, and it may herald some broad societal changes in the coming years. For the next few months, The Skimmer will take a look at the various ways that the pandemic is affecting marine ecosystems and their conservation and management. We will do this in installments published every 1-2 weeks. In this issue, we take a look at how fisheries and aquaculture are being affected by the pandemic. We will update previous installments of our coverage, so if you see critical aspects that we are missing, please let us know at skimmer [at] octogroup.org (). Many thanks to the EBM Tools Network for some early tips on what was happening at the docks.

“The biggest crisis to hit the fishing industry ever”

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management
The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

In April, the Mulago Foundation, which funds organizations that fight poverty, pooled advice from leaders in its network who have steered their institutions through Ebola, the 2008 recession, and other crises. The advice is pithy, insightful, and provocative. It is highly relevant to small-to-mid-size NGOs, and many others will find it useful as well. The advice is available in English, SpanishFrench and Portuguese.

In addition, Mulago also hosted a wonderful webinar on this topic – full of useful advice on how to ensure the survival of an institution, maintain its progress, and respond to opportunities that will arise during the crisis. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.

The Skimmer on Marine Ecosystems and Management

Editor’s note: Every month, I skim dozens of newsletters, reports, and articles for material relevant to managing and conserving marine ecosystems. And every month, I’m a little shellshocked by the onslaught of bad news. People ask me how I like my job, and I tell them that I love the oceans, I love the work, and I love the people I work with, but it is profoundly sad to chronicle the decline of ocean ecosystems. I know many Skimmer readers have these same – and perhaps even more intense – feelings and experiences. Several recent studies and a body of recent reporting are now providing a framework for recognizing and legitimizing these feelings and experiences as well as highlighting the need to develop systems to deal with them. This Skimmer provides a brief summary of recent research and news in the hopes it can help marine conservation and management practitioners move forward with their vital work studying, managing, and protecting marine ecosystems.

What is ecological grief?

  • As professionals in the marine conservation and management field, Skimmer readers are hyperaware of large scale and global changes to marine ecosystems changes including loss of biodiversity, top predators, iconic species, and biomass and the degradation of habitats. These changes are due to climate change, overfishing, coastal development, and other human activities.
     
  • New research is now examining the emotional and psychological toll that these changes are having on people, especially:

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