Latest MPA News Articles

MPA News

By Zachary Plopper

On 1 January 2019 a new law takes effect in California (US) to address commercial-scale poaching in the state’s marine protected areas. Assembly Bill 2369, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, substantially increases fines and penalties for commercial poaching in the state’s MPAs. The bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on 25 August 2018, was supported by diverse coastal stakeholders in California including conservation organizations, businesses, angler clubs, and tribes.

MPA News

By Heather Welch, Elliott Hazen, and Dana Briscoe

In the early 2000s, the dataset from (US) federal fisheries observers for California’s drift gillnet fishery was examined and a concerning pattern emerged. During warm-water years, endangered juvenile loggerhead turtles were coming closer to shore in southern California, which occasionally resulted in bycatch in drift gillnets. These were relatively rare events, which meant there was not enough distribution data to understand the underlying mechanisms, but the relationship between turtles and temperature was strong enough to warrant action. In 2003, NOAA Fisheries (the US federal fisheries agency) established the Loggerhead Conservation Area – a seasonal fisheries closure off southern California that is enacted for months between June and August when El Niño conditions are declared or forecasted to occur, or simply when sea surface temperatures are warmer than normal.

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By Anne Nelson, Lauren Wenzel, Gabrielle Johnson, and Gonzalo Cid (IMPACT Team)

The end of a year is a great time for reflection. Often there is a slower pace and some time away from work that allows a few moments to pause and plan. 

You have achievements every day in your MPAs. Yet often the challenges, threats, and constraints make us focus on what is not working instead of what is. 

MPA News

Seychelles to lead new Commonwealth Blue Charter action group on MPAs

Seychelles has announced it will lead a new intergovernmental action group on marine protected areas. The action group is under the aegis of the Commonwealth Blue Charter – a coordinated push by the Commonwealth countries to protect the ocean from an array of threats, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing.

MPA News

As the 2020 deadline grows nearer for nations to set aside 10% of waters in well-managed MPAs (Aichi Target 11), planners are being challenged to provide advice on what to protect and where to protect it. Climate change is making those decisions harder. As evidence mounts that warming oceans are already having effects on ecosystems, planners are faced with forecasting the changes the future could hold – then figuring how MPAs could account for those changes.

MPA News

By Anne Nelson, Lauren Wenzel, and Gabrielle Johnson (IMPACT Team)

Kudos to the examples of proactive climate management in last month’s MPA News coverage. The examples from colleagues in Hawaii, Caribbean / Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean, and Madagascar provide important lessons to consider with your MPA team as you move through your own climate assessment, adaptation planning, and plan review. Discussing these examples with your team can be a good way to start, restart, or reevaluate your climate planning process. 

MPA News

By Kerry Sink and Tamsyn Livingstone

On 25 October 2018, South Africa announced that the nation’s Cabinet approved 20 new marine protected areas for designation in 2019. The announcement represented the long-awaited implementation of the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy Marine Protected Area Network. This establishes South Africa as a leader in African ocean protection, and contributes to protection of both the Southeast Atlantic and the Southwest Indian Ocean – a uniquely South African opportunity!

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