In a move that has been in the making for the past five years, the Australian government formally announced its plans in March 2018 to scale back protections for the nation’s system of marine parks. Overall, 80% of Australia’s marine park waters will now be open to commercial fishing, up from 63% under the system’s original design. And 97% of Commonwealth waters within 100 km of the coast will be open to recreational fishing.
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By Rene A. Abesamis, Silliman University - Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management
Knowing how far the larvae of fish species disperse can be invaluable to designing effective networks of MPAs. But in a developing nation like the Philippines, where over 1000 community-managed MPAs have been established over the past two decades, such science is often not available, particularly at the community level. So planners have often made educated guesses when planning their MPAs, based on traditional knowledge and what science could be accessed.
These recent articles or preprints on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Save the date for IMPAC5 in Vancouver
Organizers of the next International Marine Protected Areas Congress – IMPAC5, to be hosted in Vancouver, Canada – have announced the dates. The conference will be held in 2021 from 27 September - 1 October.
Go to virtually any MPA-related conference around the world and you’ll hear the same topics discussed. Fundraising, monitoring, enforcement, engaging stakeholders, etc. It is a truism that MPA managers face many of the same challenges, no matter their location. And there are a number of tools available to help them share solutions and lessons, from publications like this one, to reports, online discussion lists, and more.
In early January 2018, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a draft five-year program to guide leasing of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas for oil and gas drilling, from 2019-2024. The draft, which reflects the views of the administration of President Donald Trump, is aggressive. It would make over 90% of the nation’s total OCS area available to exploration and development. By comparison, the current five-year program puts 94% of the OCS off-limits to oil and gas exploration.
Amid the ever-expanding guidance on how to plan and manage MPAs effectively, it is becoming more challenging for practitioners to gather all the existing global standards they need to consider in one place. To help address this, IUCN has drafted a document that integrates its existing Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas Standard with its other relevant MPA policies and positions (distilled from multiple IUCN Resolutions and recommendations over the years).
In 2009, the UNESCO World Heritage city of Hoi An on Vietnam’s central coast announced its intent to become a model eco-city for Vietnam by 2030. This meant the city would re-plan itself to operate in balance with nature. That same year (2009), UNESCO named Hoi An and the nearby Cham Islands Marine Protected Area (30 minutes by boat from Hoi An) as the combined Cu Lao Cham World Biosphere Reserve, with goals to improve the income of locals and to protect several depleted species, including the commercially valuable land crab Gecarcoidea lalandii.
These recent articles on MPA-related science and policy are all free to access.
Article: “Hydroacoustics as a tool to examine the effects of Marine Protected Areas and habitat type on marine fish communities”, Scientific Reports 8 (2018)